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Fort Wayne medical practice splits, following industry trend

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A Fort Wayne medical practice is breaking up, with most of the physicians set to become employees of one of the city’s two hospital systems in September.

Hospitals are hiring physicians at an accelerating pace nationally. The same is true among the four major private hospital systems in Indianapolis.

The Fort Wayne practice, the 28-doctor Indiana Medical Associates LLC, includes specialists in internal, diabetes, lung, kidney and digestive medicine.

At this point, 11 of those physicians will join the Parkview Health hospital system and eight will join Lutheran Medical Group, a subsidiary of the Lutheran Hospital system, said CEO Lowell Teska. The remaining physicians are pursuing other options.

Also, all of the practice’s 102 staff members are likely to get jobs at one of the hospital systems, Teska said. However, as a legal precaution, Indiana Medical Associates filed a WARN Act notice with the State of Indiana on Tuesday, because the employees would technically lose their jobs before being hired by one of the hospitals.

It’s not clear yet how many employees will go to each hospital system, or perhaps to another employer, Teska said.

Indiana Medical Associates faces pressure similar to that experienced by many physicians in Indianapolis who have paired up with hospitals. For example, the St. Vincent Health system in Indianapolis recently acquired The Care Group, which includes 130 primary care and cardiology physicians.

Physician reimbursement has been squeezed substantially, as the federal Medicare program and private insurers have recently cut rates for many specialists  and put up barriers to physicians’ ability to make money using imaging and other diagnostic equipment.

“By doing these alignments, it’s just a better machine for ensuring that quality continues to be delivered at a high level while funding or reimbursements decline,” said Teska in an interview Friday morning.

In addition, the new health care law, signed by President Obama in March, authorizes the federal Medicare program to split any cost savings achieved by teams of doctors and hospitals, called accountable care organizations, which improve the quality of care.

“There are some benefits in physicians and hospitals coming together,” Teska said, adding, “Cost improvements will occur due to physicians and hospitals working together in an integrated fashion.”
 

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  1. OK Larry, let's sign Lance, shore up the PG and let's get to the finals.

  2. A couple of issues need some clarification especially since my name was on the list. I am not sure how this information was obtained and from where. For me, the amount was incorrect to begin with and the money does not come to me personally. I am guessing that the names listed are the Principal Investigators (individual responsible for the conduct of the trail) for the different pharmaceutical trials and not the entity which receives the checks. In my case, I participate in Phase II and Phase III trials which are required for new drug development. Your article should differentiate the amount of money received for consulting, for speaking fees, and for conduct of a clinical trial for new drug development. The lumping of all of these categories may give the reader a false impression of physicians just trying to get rich. The Sunshine Law may help to differentiate these categories in the future. The public should be aware that the Clinical Trial Industry could be a real economic driver for Indiana since these revenues supports jobs and new job creation. Nationally, this account for 10-20 billion which our State is missing out on to a large degree. Yes, new drug and technology development has gotten most of the attention (e.g. CTSI, BioCrossroads, etc.) However, serious money is being left on the table by not participating in the clinical trials to get those new drugs and medical devices on the market!!!! I guess that this is not sexy enough for academia.

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