South Florida Hospital News
Thursday May 28, 2020
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March 2008 - Volume 4 - Issue 9

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Digestive CARE™ – Leading the Way in Gastroenterology Practice

Digestive CARE™ is a medical group of gastroenterology physicians encompassing Broward County and Palm Beach County with twenty-three office locations. This group provides state-of-the art care to patients with diseases of the digestive system affecting the esophagus, liver, pancreas and biliary, small intestine and colon. Diseases treated by gastroenterologists include acid reflux, Barrett’s esophagus, colorectal cancer, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, cirrhosis, peptic ulcers and other digestive diseases. Consisting of forty five physicians and five mid-level providers, Digestive CARE™ is the largest gastroenterology group in Florida and the third largest in the country. Overall there are about twelve to thirteen thousand gastroenterologists in the United States.

According to Dr. Kenneth Rosenthal one of the managing board members of the group, "Digestive Care was initially the creation of three local Broward County physicians who felt that the future of the healthcare environment for solo or small practice physicians was looking bleak in 2004. Those physicians began speaking with their local colleagues and organized a large Broward county meeting to discuss interest in becoming part of a larger organization. From there, the opportunity flourished, hiring a COO to organize the doctors into a cohesive group in early 2006 and added nineteen Palm Beach County physicians in the Spring of 2006. Digestive CARE™ went live as a unified medical group on December 1, 2006. The Group is fully integrated including financial information, overhead, data sharing, practice management systems, electronic medical records, compliance and peer review."

He continued, "The group currently has 45 physicians and five physician extenders. Prior to going live as a unified medical group, a few outlying physicians determined the risk of losing their autonomy wasn’t worth it for them. Despite this initial attrition, the group has remained strong without any loss of physicians since going live. There were twenty-three office locations merged together and integrated through all of the above, all managed through a central business office and governed by a Managing Board of physician partners."

Among the array forty-five physicians in the group, a wide range of gastroenterology sub-specialties are represented. Among the diseases on which members of the group focus are acid reflux, Barrett’s Esophagus, cirrhosis, colorectal cancer, Crohn’s Disease, hepatitis, irritable bowel syndrome, pancreatitis, ulcerative colitis and peptic ulcer disease, constipation, diarrhea, diverticulosis, gallstones, and lactose intolerance.

In speaking about the resources the group has developed, Dr. Rosenthal commented, "Our Group has its own pathology laboratory which allows for a more specialized and prompt diagnosis for the patient, our own infusion sites, Cat scanning and other imaging modalities and surgical suites for a patient friendly and cost conscious atmosphere for performing procedures such as colonoscopy and endoscopy. In addition, our Group has an electronic medical record running in each of its locations. This system connects all of the patient information from consult notes to lab results and their history in the practice at a seconds notice. The physician is able to assist a patient whether the physician is in the office or vacationing abroad by accessing the electronic medical record in a secure internet environment. These electronic records also allow for data management so that patient outcomes can be measured as well as compliance with regard to insurance carrier formularies for patient and payer cost management. Also cutting edge technologies such as endoscopic ultrasound, capsule endoscopy, Halo endoscopic therapy for Barrett’s esophagus and the new Spyglass endoscopy system which places a mini-scope directly in the bile duct to extract stones and biopsy tumors are available."

Several physicians who are Partners in Digestive CARE™ are involved in cutting edge research seeking new developments in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and hepatitis.

Touching upon how a group of fifty providers manages itself, Dr. Rosenthal said, "Digestive CARE™ is governed through a Board of Managing Partners, consisting of twelve physicians, voted on annually by the entire Group of Partners and our COO. The Board meets monthly for oversight and provision of the fiduciary obligations of the organization. There is also an Executive Committee consisting of five of the Board members plus our COO, who meet weekly to discuss strategy on a more detailed and operational level. Our COO, Joni Brown, runs the daily operations of the organization from the central business office."

Commenting on the future of the largest gastroenterology practice in Florida, Dr. Rosenthal reported, "Digestive CARE™ is constantly approached for growth opportunities by physicians, in and out of Florida, as well as to participate in partnerships with local hospitals, pharmaceutical vendors, carriers, employer groups and coalitions and consumer driven organizations. Our Group believes in a community approach to medicine and wants to be a good partner to all of these entities, so long as it is patient minded and beneficial. We believe in strategic growth and partnerships as our mission and vision imply."

For more information about Digestive CARE™, visit their website at DigestiveCareOnline.com.
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