Meet a GI group focused on physician autonomy 

Founded in April 2020, Brentwood, Tenn.-based One GI is a newcomer to the gastroenterology management group game, but the company is growing quickly. 

The group has had a massive year for acquisitions, with 11 deals in the last 17 months. The group's strategy, according to its executives, is a regional and physician focus. 

Founder Michael Dragutsky, MD, created One GI after seeing gastroenterologists who were having to consolidate amid rising payer costs and an increased need for leverage but were in turn losing their autonomy. 

"Basically, any gastroenterologist who practices in an urban or suburban area, you really need consolidation to maintain your independence," he said. "And if you do it right, you can mitigate loss of control issues or loss of control fears and concerns."

One GI works to ensure that physicians are at the forefront. 

"Nobody understands what doctors deal with better than doctors," David Bridgers, MD, a gastroenterologist with One GI and Gastroenterology Associates & Endoscopy Center of North Mississippi in Oxford, told Becker's. "One of the biggest issues that physicians are dealing with right now, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, is a lack of control."

By focusing on regional groups that "make sense" with One GI's market — which encompasses  Tennessee, Mississippi, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana — leverage can be gained without requiring oversight from organizations thousands of miles away, Dr. Bridgers said. 

"One thing I saw with [other organizations] is that they were all sort of randomly placed," he said. "We felt like it would be in our best interest to achieve our goals to start centrally — that way, it's more of an organic group where we're all dealing with similar geographic issues."

This translates to the accessibility of patient care. Dr. Bridgers said he can easily call a colleague nearby for procedures such as endoscopic ultrasounds, which his practice does not offer.

One GI also offers physicians something other groups do not: equal equity opportunity, which helps with the organization's recruiting efforts. 

"Physicians are pretty independent people," Dr. Dragutsky said. "So when consolidation takes place, there is always going to be the fear of a little loss of control of your own destiny."

One GI aims to offer physicians a way to execute control over patient care. 

"You lose your voice [without physician input]. The whole impetus to consolidate is to maintain your independence as a physician rather than being an employed physician," said Kevin Finnegan, MD, a One GI gastroenterologist with Associated Endoscopy in Brentwood. "At the heart of that is maintaining your voice and maintaining your input in how the organization is run."

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