Texas surgical group to affiliate with hospital after 64 years of independence

Victoria (Texas) Surgical Associates plans to become part of Citizens Medical Center after 64 years as an independent practice, according to the Victoria Advocate.

Five insights:

1. Four physicians from Victoria Surgical Associates will become Citizens Medical Center employees as of Oct. 1 and form their own practice within the hospital.

2. The physicians are Shahid Hashmi, MD, John Barber, MD, Andrew Clemmons, DO, and Hannah Starkey Smith, MD. Their new practice, Citizens Victoria Surgical Associates, will operate as a specialty surgery group offering most general surgery procedures.

3. The group's office will relocate from DeTar Hospital Navarro's campus in Victoria to Citizens Medical Center, which is also in Victoria. The surgeons will still perform surgeries at both hospitals and work with hospitals in other counties.

4. Victoria Surgical Associates sought a hospital partner to offset increasing costs and facilitate logistics, according to Dr. Hashmi, who joined the independent practice in 1987. Given the personnel and infrastructure needed to handle insurance and comply with healthcare regulations, it was easier for the physicians to switch to hospital employment, Dr. Hasmi told the Victoria Advocate.

"We are not the first ones who have gone and looked for an entity, a hospital, who will take over the billing, the certification process, the overhead process, so that we can do what we are trained to do, [which is] to take care of our patients," Dr. Hashmi told the outlet.

5. As Dr. Hashmi indicated, Victoria Surgical Associates' decision to seek employment reflects a growing trend. In 2016, a survey found that fewer than half of practicing U.S. physicians owned their own practice. Research from the American Medical Association shows more physicians are opting to be employed instead of opening independent practices.

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