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By PBN Staff
By PBN Staff
PROVIDENCE – Aquidneck Medical Associates Inc. will merge its operations with University Medicine in a joint effort to expand services and programs available to patients and to take advantage of incentives under the Affordable Care Act, the two physician groups announced Monday.
Following the merger, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2014, Aquidneck Medical will serve patients under the name Aquidneck Medical Associates Affiliated with University Medicine Foundation.
“We expect this merger will in the near future bring high-quality specialty care closer to the residents of Newport and Portsmouth,” said Dr. Keivan Ettefagh, president of Aquidneck Medical Associates, in a statement. “Soon, patients will no longer have to cross two bridges and drive 30 miles to reach many specialists.”
Aquidneck Medical currently employs 11 primary-care physicians and 38 staff at its two locations in Newport and Portsmouth. The merger will grant Aquidneck Medical access to University Medicine specialists in 10 different medical specialty fields, who will travel to the Aquidneck Medical offices to see patients.
University Medicine maintains 15 locations throughout the state and is affiliated with Brown University and the Lifespan network of hospitals. After the merger with Aquidneck Medical, the medical group will comprise 185 physicians and 200 staff serving more than 100,000 patients throughout Rhode Island, with expected combined revenue of more than $70 million. No change in staffing is expected, according to a news release announcing the merger.
“The combined operations of our two groups will allow us to expand services to patients, participate in new programs with insurers, and continue to enhance our technology and improve administrative services,” said Dr. Lou Rice, president of University Medicine, of the merger.
Both physician groups prioritize patient-centered care, health care reform and the development of electronic medical records, meaning that patients will see little to no change in quality of service, Ettefagh said.
In addition to expanding Aquidneck Medical’s specialized medical care, the merger will allow the Newport group to advance its health care delivery while improving the ability of both groups to participate in new health care models under the Affordable Care Act. The new health care law encourages joint medical collaborations like the merger of Aquidneck Medical and University Medicine through the Accountable Care Organizations incentive programs.
“The opportunity to affiliate with a high-quality group like Aquidneck comes at the right time,” Rice said. “We’ll be better able to participate in new models of care that will give patients better service and access to care, while keeping health care costs under control.”
University Medicine is also in discussions with other physician groups in Rhode Island to add more primary-care physicians to its growing network, the release said, a critical move to counteract the projected shortage of primary-care providers following health care reform.
“Our flexible approach makes us attractive to medical groups who want the administrative and support services we can provide, but who also want to maintain some autonomy in their operations, staffing and clinical-care delivery,” Rice said.