Steward Health Care nabs Hawthorn physician group

Posted 9/6/12

DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Steward Health Care, the for-profit hospital system in the midst of acquiring Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket, signed a 10-year agreement with Hawthorn Medical Associates, a physician group with about 80 doctors, the New Bedford Standard-Times reported Thursday.

In joining the Steward network, Hawthorn - a for-profit physician group that serves the New Bedford and Fall River communities - chose to leave Partners HealthCare six years ahead of its current agreement.

Steward, which currently owns 11 hospitals in Massachusetts, has aggressively pursued partnerships with physician groups. In 2011, it secured relationships with Compass Medical, luring it away from Partners, and it also secured Whittier Independent Practice Association, formerly associated with Beth Israel Deaconess.

Steward’s strategy seeks to attract patients to its network of community hospitals and physicians groups instead of academic medical centers in Boston.

Under the agreement, the doctors with Hawthorn will not be employed by Steward but will join the Steward Health Care Network. The new partnership will enable Steward to negotiate insurance reimbursement rates from a larger network of providers.

However, a separate entity of Hawthorn Medical Associates, with about 500 employees, including X-ray technicians, receptionists and housekeeping staff, will become the Hawthorn Medical Associates/Steward Medical Group, and its workforce will become employees of Steward.

Christopher Murphy, Steward spokesman, told the New Bedford Standard-Times that the new agreement will help Hawthorn move to a global payment model from a fee-for-service model.

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