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Scotts Valley Medical Clinic to join Palo Alto Medical Foundation

Posted by Yijy8kNUMO on October 17, 2017

The Scotts Valley Medical Clinic, an independent family medicine practice founded in 1963 by the town’s first doctor, will join Sutter Health’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation as of Jan. 1.

Three physicians – Dr. Michael CoulsonDr. Meghan Thomas and Dr. Drew Maris ‑ will join PAMF, a group with more than 200 doctors and 24 clinics in Santa Cruz County.

Dr. Karen Lynch, who practices medicine at the clinic and has worked locally for 35 years, will retire at the end of the year.

The three physicians will continue seeing patients in their office at 2980 El Rancho Drive, built in 1969 by Dr. Donald Seapy, the first to practice in Scotts Valley.

“We are immensely proud of the fact that they, with their incredible reputation for quality and patient-focused service, elected to join us,” said Dr. Larry DeGhetaldi, CEO of Sutter Bay Medical Foundation Santa Cruz, in a statement.

“We’re happy to be in an environment where we will have more resources to help patients,” said Coulson, who has practiced at Scotts Valley Medical Clinic for 17 years.

Coulson, Thomas, Maris and Lynch were previously part of the Physicians Medical Group of Santa Cruz,a network of 250 independent doctors that affiliated in March with Dignity Health Medical Foundationto handle health plan administrative functions.

At that time, Coulson had 40 percent HMO patients, 30 percent Medicare and 30 percent in a preferred provider organization plan.

With the impending switch to PAMF, patients whose plan covers PAMF will have access an online portal they can use to view their own medical record, schedule appointments, request prescription renewals, see test results and email questions to their doctor.

The new affiliation was timed to coincide with open enrollment, from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, the time of year when people can sign up for health insurance.

PAMF sent patients a list of health plans accepted by PAMF doctors, Sutter Health spokeswoman Meg Walker said,

On a sunny and warm Monday afternoon, the Scotts Valley Medical Clinic’s spacious patient waiting room with a fish tank was mostly empty. One woman walking in said she just wanted to go to the Quest Lab, which moved to a new location, 4340 Scotts Valley Drive Suite F, on Aug. 29.

The clinic has a handout at the counter alerting patients to check with their health insurer to see whether PAMF will participate in their insurance plan in 2018.

Carol Noble, Scotts Valley Medical Clinic office manager for 42 years, said the practice has “thousands” of patients. She wasn’t sure how many patients might have to change insurers to keep their doctors.

“We were one of the first” to adopt electronic health records, Noble said, noting that change came 16 years ago. “We couldn’t recruit new doctors unless we did.”

She said the practice is open to HMO patients but not accepting brand-new patients right now, although an exception could be made for relatives of existing patients.

What has kept her there so long?

“Working with great doctors,” she said. “Medicine is fun. You’re helping people.”

Physicians who have worked at Scotts Valley Medical Clinic include Dr. Dawn Motyka, Dr. Maria Greaves and Dr. Tobias Yeh.

With the impending departure of Dr. Lynch, the physicians are working to absorb her patients, who could choose to see one of the three physician assistants on staff: Christina Brady, Diana Hull or Charie Evans.

That reflects a trend in medicine for more women physician assistants, 68 percent female in 2016, according to a report by National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

Median pay for physician assistants in family medicine was $95,000, less than for those working in specialties such as emergency medicine and surgery.

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, October 16, 2017 6:38pm

Author: Jondi Gumz

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