GHEP concludes relationship with Houston area HCA hospitals
After serving since 1998 as the Emergency Department physician group for HCA’s Gulf Coast Division, Greater Houston Emergency Physicians (“GHEP”) has elected to end its 15 year relationship with HCA in order to concentrate resources on its rapidly expanding free standing emergency department (“FSED”) network and new business ventures in the Greater Houston metropolitan area as well as the San Antonio / Central Texas region and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
GHEP will continue to provide emergency department services to the Methodist Hospital System in San Antonio, Texas and in two freestanding emergency departments located in Montgomery County, Texas.
Tim Seay, MD, President of GHEP stated that the expansion of GHEP’s business ventures in the Gulf Coast area, as well as San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth and West Texas prompted this move. “GHEP has moved into additional markets as a provider of emergency department services as well as an owner of the facilities in which we provide the emergency department services. This allows GHEP to ensure that the patient receives the highest quality of medical care. The patients we see have a variety of emergency medical conditions that require immediate and intense medical attention. The service provider model that we are utilizing ensures that these expectations are met.”
GHEP was formed in September 1998 with its sole business being the emergency department staffing entity for HCA hospitals within the HCA Gulf Coast Division. In 2009, GHEP became the exclusive provider of emergency department medical and administrative services in a freestanding emergency department located in the Rice Village area of Houston, operating under the name of EliteCare 24 Hour Emergency Center. GHEP continues to be the exclusive provider of medical services in five EliteCare Emergency Centers located in the greater Houston area, San Antonio and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex area, with plans to add an additional 13 such free standing emergency departments within the next few years.
Independently owned freestanding emergency departments were permitted in Texas beginning in September 2011. The concept of the FSED, according to Dr. Patricia Short, MD, GHEP’s Chief Medical Officer, is to provide emergency department services in a patient friendly environment. “Freestanding emergency departments, such as the EliteCare Emergency Centers are a fully equipped licensed emergency department staffed by board certified GHEP physicians. These facilities are not a part of a full hospital or medical center campus, which provides patients with convenient, timely access to emergency medical services. Typically, patients entering a main hospital emergency department face a long wait in a crowded environment. Free standing emergency departments are located near residential communities to provide easy 24 hour access to emergency medical services with minimal wait times, averaging less than 10 minutes.
GHEP has begun the transition out of the HCA facilities, a process that will be complete by August 1, 2013. “We have had a good working relationship with HCA for 15 years and we will strive to ensure a smooth transition,” said Seay. “The decision to end the relationship with HCA was not an easy one for GHEP, but it was a necessary decision based on GHEP’s growth and expansion”.
Methodist Sugar Land Hospital opens new sports medicine fellowship program
Methodist Orthopaedic Specialists of Texas (MOST) and Methodist Sugar Land Hospital are now offering an accredited primary care sports medicine fellowship program, designed to provide new physicians with the in-depth training needed to care for today’s athlete.
“The program will begin this year with one fellow and is expected to grow in the future,” said Dr. David Braunreiter, board certified primary care sports medicine specialist, who will manage the fellowship for MOST.
Primary care sports medicine is a rapidly growing specialty, driven by the advance of highly competitive youth sports and an increase in the number of adults participating in physically demanding activities such as running, swimming, skiing and more.
“The need for sports medicine has grown beyond its roots in professional and college athletics,” said Dr. Braunreiter. “Primary care sports medicine physicians provide much more than orthopedic injury management, which is what most people think of when they hear ‘sports medicine.’ The fellowship program will provide advanced training – beyond the regular medical training primary care physicians receive – to equip our trainees with knowledge needed to help active and athletic individuals recover from medical conditions and injuries and participate in good health.”
In addition to providing specialized training to participants, the fellowship program will enable MOST to extend its already extensive sports medicine services.
“The fellowship program will give us additional resources to see patients on a regular basis as well as improve our community outreach,” said Dr. Braunreiter. “For example, our fellow could conduct educational seminars on relevant topics, provide medical coverage for tournaments, games and practices, handle preparticipation physicals and even conduct field research.”
Dr. Braunreiter has directed sports medicine fellowship programs twice before, and he is excited about the opportunity to do so again on behalf of MOST and Methodist Sugar Land Hospital.
“This is an invaluable program for new physicians who are interested in primary care sports medicine,” he says. “But it’s also an important asset for MOST and for the patients we serve. MOST is well-known for its commitment to the community and to athletes of all levels, and having a full-time fellow will enable us to do even more.”