When a local independent physician chooses to become a TJ Health Partners physician, Health Partners and hospital administrators say the only change patients may eventually notice is increased efficiency in the billing process and appointment scheduling. The way a doctor handles seeing patients, treating them or admitting to the hospital is not affected by their status as a Partner or non-Partner.
TJ Health Partners is a physician employment group created by T.J. Samson Community Hospital, but owned by TJ Regional Health, the new umbrella corporation over T.J. Samson and Health Partners. Made active in January 2011, Health Partners now employs 23 physicians in the Glasgow area, up from just five physicians who were employed by T.J. Samson before Partners was created and up from the original eight physicians who began with Partners. Some Partners are physicians who were already established in the area and some have been recruited to Glasgow. All of them still handle their patient care the same way an independent physician practice would, according to TJ Health Partners CEO Tony Sudduth.
“It’s a business model and it doesn’t change the way their care is delivered or access to the care,” Sudduth said.
Creating Health Partners came out of several things local physicians were saying, Sudduth said. Physicians were having a harder time managing the business side of their practice, and practicing medicine at the same time. They no longer wanted to deal with the stress of management and payroll, Profits have been decreasing and healthcare reforms such as mandatory electronic records were making it more complicated for physicians to keep up with legal requirements.
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