Galichia, doctors team up

BY ANDI ATWATER
http://www.kansas.com

Galichia Heart Hospital has become a safe harbor for some specialized physicians who say managing their small practices doesn’t allow them the freedom to practice medicine the way they want to.

The hospital just formed Kansas Physicians Group, a limited liability company under which administrators hope to house as many as 10 physicians by the end of the year.

Cardiologist James Smith, an endovascular interventionist, recently sold his Kansas Endovascular Medicine Associates to Galichia and now serves as director of vascular medicine there.

“I needed to be a part of something bigger,” he said. “It was getting difficult for me to do everything on my own, and it had gotten to the point where I needed easier access to a hospital, ease of use… and efficient use of time and resources.”

Smith, who returned to Wichita in 2003 after serving as director of vascular medicine at Washington Adventist Hospital in Washington, D.C., still sees patients at his Ridge Road practice, but he performs most of his procedures at Galichia.

However, he also maintains privileges at other Wichita hospitals and can treat patients there as well.

This kind of arrangement is picking up momentum across the country as small-group practices respond to increasing economic pressures fueled by reimbursement rates and other pressures.

“When you stop and look at reimbursement trends, increasing regulations, increasing oversight and the cost of maintaining a business, these are all challenges for physicians in practice today,” said Jon Rosell, executive director the Medical Society of Sedgwick County.

“I think for some physicians in certain kinds of practices, it may be appealing — it fills a need for them to practice in a way they feel is appropriate.”

Galichia chief executive Steve Harris said these new hospital-physician partnerships reflect the collaborative trend in health care today and allow smaller group practices to operate more efficiently.

Kansas Physicians Group already employs three anesthesiologists and a cardiovascular surgeon and his team. Harris said he’s negotiating with five other doctors and hopes to get them on board by January.

“This is another way we can help provide physicians with more time to practice medicine,” he said. “By helping them manage their practices, we help physicians spend more time on patient care — which is why they got into this business in the first place.”

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