ARCHIVED  July 30, 2010

Cancer Center of the Rockies joins PVMG

FORT COLLINS – Cancer Center of the Rockies is joining Poudre Valley Medical Group, a move that becomes official Aug. 1.

Founded in 1979 as the first dedicated cancer care center in Fort Collins, the independent specialty practice will give up its autonomy as its doctors and staff become employed by Poudre Valley Health System.

Cancer Center of the Rockies joins Heart Center of the Rockies and, most recently, the 60-plus-doctor Greeley Medical Clinic as fellow members of the multi-specialty PVMG, created in March.

Pam Brock, PVHS vice president for strategic planning, said the addition of Cancer Center of the Rockies brings PVMG to “about 100” health-care providers in 21 specialties.

The Cancer Center has five physicians, Miho Toi Scott, M.A, M.D.; Paolo Romero, M.D.; Anne Kanard, M.D.; Regina Brown, M.D.; Matthew Sorensen, M.D.; and a physician’s assistant, Tricia Smikahl. The center specializes in the treatment of cancers and blood disorders.

Cancer Center of the Rockies did not return phone calls seeking comment for this story.

Barbara Yosses, PVHS’s vice president of ambulatory services and PVMG’s CEO, would not say if PVHS or CCR made the first overture to join PVMG but noted “most of the time the physicians approach us.”

Yosses said being part of PVMG relieves physician and medical group members of the burden of billing, accounting, collections and other paperwork so they can focus on practicing medicine.

“It relieves them of the responsibilities of running their practice themselves so they can get ready for the health-care reform,” she said. “They can concentrate on taking care of patients.”

Massive changes in health care related to the new federal reform act are expected to put an additional regulatory burden on practices. At the same time, organizations like PVHS – which also owns Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins and Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland – are positioning themselves to become as integrated and self-contained as possible.

That’s all the more important for PVHS as it faces competition from Banner Health System in Northern Colorado. Phoenix-based Banner owns McKee Medical Center in Loveland and has a contract to operate North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley. Both organizations have been stepping up their efforts in recent years to align with regional medical practices.

Continuing relationship

Brock said the addition of Cancer Center of the Rockies to PVMG, which has its main office at 2121 E. Harmony Road in a medical campus owned by PVHS, is a continuation of a close relationship that’s been ongoing.

“For many years, PVHS has worked hard building trust with these physicians and knowing we can work together,” she said.

Cancer Center of the Rockies is part of the Poudre Valley Hospital Cancer Network, which also includes Front Range Cancer Specialists and other surgeons and physicians.

Yosses describes PVMG as “a wholly-owned subsidiary of Poudre Valley Health System and formed to act as a group practice model.”

She said those who join the medical group become employees of PVHS but are “absolutely free” to send their patients to whatever facility might be best for their treatment.

“We do not dictate to physicians where’s the best place for care,” Yosses said.

Heart Center of the Rockies joined PVMG in June and Greeley Medical Clinic – which Yosses headed before moving to PVHS in March 2009 – joined PVMG on July 11. Brock said PVMG is “growing quickly.”

“Physicians are looking around and figuring out how they want to practice,” she said. “The world of health care is becoming so complex, and partnering is a lot better than going it alone.”

Brock said the approach of health care reform – starting this year and continuing into 2018 – is a big reason for partnering.

“We’re going to be required to do things more efficiently, at a lower cost and higher quality, and that’s going to be easier if we do it together,” she said. “We have some time to prepare, but by doing so now we will assure a brighter future for the communities we serve. By setting the stage now, we stand a better chance of continuing to provide quality health care in this community.”

For example, Brock noted that PVHS has switched over to electronic health recordkeeping, a federal requirement aimed at saving money on duplicate testing and preventing medical errors.

PVHS plans to “go wide” with its electronic records system on Oct. 1 with a new computer platform that can be accessed by the system’s doctors and affiliated organizations.

“We’ve had electronic records for a few years now,” she said. “We’re updating it to make the process of patient care more effective. We’re almost at 100 percent of doctors having access to patient records whenever they need them.”

Brock said Cancer Center of the Rockies is a welcome addition to PVMG. “There’s a mutual respect and certainly we welcome them with open arms,” she said. “They’ve brought a lot of value to the community and world-class health care for many years. We’re thrilled and happy to have them on board.”

FORT COLLINS – Cancer Center of the Rockies is joining Poudre Valley Medical Group, a move that becomes official Aug. 1.

Founded in 1979 as the first dedicated cancer care center in Fort Collins, the independent specialty practice will give up its autonomy as its doctors and staff become employed by Poudre Valley Health System.

Cancer Center of the Rockies joins Heart Center of the Rockies and, most recently, the 60-plus-doctor Greeley Medical Clinic as fellow members of the multi-specialty PVMG, created in March.

Pam Brock, PVHS vice president for strategic planning, said the addition of Cancer Center of the Rockies brings PVMG…

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