Hospital reorganizes physician practices

Catawba Valley Medical Center (CVMC) is making some big changes and they now have the county’s support.

Catawba County Commissioners approved a resolution on Monday authorizing the creation of Catawba Valley Medical Group Inc., a new non-profit corporation that will organize CVMC’s primary care and cardiology practices under a new, separate entity.

CVMC officials say the hospital’s physician practices can serve the community better and save more money as a separate entity.

“This change helps us to meet healthcare reform that has already been enacted,” said Catawba Valley Medical Group Director Brian McGinnis, adding that the change creates revenue increases and expense reductions that will limit patient fee increases in the future.

By creating a separate non-profit organization, the medical group will not be subject to procedural requirements of the Joint Commission, which oversees accreditation of hospitals and medical centers. Instead, the group will be classified as a Patient-Centered Medical Home and follow the national Committee on Quality Assurance, whose requirements will help the group save money as well as focus on the patient’s needs, according to CVMC documents.

“The Joint Commission was designed to improve quality of services at hospitals,” McGinnis said. “Medical groups were not the focus, but medical groups and primary care are the focus of NCQA, which will better meet the group’s needs.”

After the change, all the employees will remain CVMC workers, and the medical home will “contract” its services from the hospital, said CVMC CEO Tony Rose. He added that the medical group also has the ability to electronically exchange records with the hospital.

“This improves our efficiency, but also improves revenue as well,” Rose said.

 The Catawba Valley Medical Group Inc. will initially include CVMC’s nine primary care practices and a recently formed cardiology practice, McGinnis said, and the reorganization will be effective Oct. 1.  
CVMC officials say this change will help the center continue its mission to see all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. McGinnis said CVMC’s practices are among the few in the area that currently accept Medicare and Medicaid patients.

“This allows CVMC to continue to provide the network of access to medical care that Catawba Valley Medical Center is known for,” said Catawba County Manager Tom Lundy. “It puts them under the appropriate set of safeguards and regulations as medical practices opposed to the regulations of a hospital.”

Catawba County Commissioners also approved:

A Work First Plan for 2012-14 for submission to the North Carolina Department of Human Resources. The Work First plan is a proposed local welfare policy that is part of the county’s pursuit of an “Electing County” status, something that would give area officials more control over welfare policies in the area.

An Assistance Policy and Disbursement Policy for the Catawba County 2011 Urgent Repair Program. The N.C. Housing Finance Agency awarded Catawba County a 2011 Urgent Repair Program Grant in the amount of $37,500. The program will assist approximately seven low-income households by providing energy efficiency improvements and minor structural repairs.