Friday, May 05, 2000
Doctor group cuts offices and jobs
By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Alliance Primary Care, a large doctor group owned by the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, plans to close nine of its 44 medical offices and eliminate 70 of its 750 jobs as part of a cost-cutting effort.
Two offices will be closed in Blue Ash; two in Mount Auburn; and one each in Madeira, Colerain Township, Roselawn, Milford and Forest Park. Those offices housed 28 doctors.
The office closings are the first part of a wider effort to cut $4 million to $5 million in expenses at Alliance Primary Care in fiscal 2001, which begins July 1, said Health Alliance spokeswoman Gail Myers.
The closings are expected by June 30. Employees were notified Thursday. Patients should get notices within a few weeks, once new locations for the doctors involved are decided.
When the dust settles, the number of doctors at Alliance Primary Care will drop from 176 to 173. Eight doctors are leaving the group but five new doctors have
joined, said Dr. Robert Prichard, senior executive officer at APC.
On Tuesday, Jack Cook, the alliance's chief executive officer, and Phil Tempel, chief financial officer, announced their plans to resign.
The two events were not related, Ms. Myers said. However, financial losses involving Alliance Primary Care have contributed to overall operating losses at the Health Alliance.
Losses at the doctor group including $18.8 million in fiscal 1998 (the most recent public data available) have contributed to $88 million in operating losses at the Health Alliance in fiscal 1998 and 1999.
Counting investment income and other nonpatient revenue, the Health Alliance actually lost $13 million in 1998 and $1 million in 1999.
Dale Bradford, a health care consultant with the Scheller Bradford Group, said the larger strategic question remains: whether the hospital group should have spent millions buying physician practices.
The Health Alliance primary care group has been adding patients without adding doctors, which over time will improve the bottom line, Dr. Prichard said.
These Alliance Primary Care offices will close by June 30. New locations for the doctors who practiced there will be announced within weeks.
Mount Auburn: Three APC offices at Christ Hospital medical building, 2123 Auburn Ave., will be condensed into two. Meanwhile, an office at 47 E. Hollister St. will close.
Blue Ash: Two offices at 4747 Lake Forest Drive will close.
Colerain Township: 3377 Compton Road.
Forest Park: 1295 Kemper Meadow Drive.
Madeira: 7124 Miami Ave.
Roselawn: 7617 Reading Road.
Milford: 1085 Ohio 28.
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