Northside Internal Medicine Associates has joined Columbia Medical Associates LLC, a physicians group here that includes 18 clinical locations in Spokane and Spokane Valley.
Valeri Steigerwald, the CEO of Columbia Medical Associates, says the physicians' group, established in 2004 by the merging of a number of smaller practices, now includes 33 physicians, who collectively own the group, as well as 40 other health-care providers.
Later this year, when Columbia Medical opens a clinic in Liberty Lake, it plans to recruit four additional providers, who will be new to the area, Steigerwald says.
The physicians at Northside Internal Medicine, who will continue to be located on Spokane's North Side at 6120 N. Mayfair, include Drs. Timothy Gardner, Terri Oskin, Maria Janout, Mary Schaefer Badger, and K. Kennedy Cathcart.
The North Side practice has kept its name, but its patients will see the Columbia Medical name on patient bills.
For physicians at small clinics such as Northside Internal Medicine, Columbia Medical offers a way to simplify the administrative side of medicine, Steigerwald says.
"When we bring on existing clinics, that's about having those providers be part of an organization that has the business infrastructure to allow them to simplify the business side of medicine, and reduce the overhead in health care," she says.
Physicians' offices get access to an electronic health-records system, and patients of those providers can access diagnostic imaging services and after-hours care through Columbia Medical Associates.
In addition, Columbia Medical Associates offers a program called Columbia care that gives patients who might have high insurance deductibles access to care for subscription and visit fees.
"Our goal is to serve communities where there are no primary-care facilities," Steigerwald says. "There's really a shortage of primary care across the nation."
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