‘We need make sure the medical community not just survives but is vibrant’
NOVATO — The Prima Medical Group recently brought on Wayne Fairchild as its new CEO, where he will help spearhead efforts to expand the organization’s reach in the North Bay amid a shifting business landscape under the ongoing implementation of health care reform.
Mr. Fairchild was previously CEO of Santa Rosa-based Redwood Regional Medical Group, an independent practice with locations throughout the North Bay focused largely on oncology and related health services.
In his new role, started in January, he will help guide Prima Medical Group — a subset of the Prima Medical Foundation and the 700-phsycian Meritage Medical Network — as it looks to serve as an alternative to both Sutter Health- and Kaiser Permanente-affiliated physicians that dominate much of the North Bay, according to Joel Criste, CEO of the Meritage Medical Network.
Mr. Fairchild said his departure from Redwood Regional, and his arrival at Prima, was the result of an evolving landscape for independent physicians groups as each seeks the best possible strategy and alignment under the Affordable Care Act, which has spurred significant consolidation in the health care industry.
“My job was to position (Redwood Regional) in a matter where they could position themselves to practice medicine in the manner they’re comfortable with,” Mr. Fairchild said.
With Mr. Fairchild’s departure, Dr. Wayne Keiser and Dr. Robert Feiwell are serving as co-CEOs for Redwood Regional Medical Group. Attempts to reach the physicians for comment were not successful as of press time.
Mr. Fairchild also said Prima is in a good position to move ahead under the new landscape, noting that it has grown significantly over the past four years and continues to have a strong relationship with Marin General and Sonoma Valley hospitals, as well as an expanding presence in Napa County.
“I’m very pleased with my decision,” he said. “There are quality people here and they’re building something that is financially stable while working to improve care in the community.”
The Prima Medical Group was formed in 2005, with practices in Terra Linda, Novato, Mill Valley, Sausalito, Larkspur, Greenbrae and Sonoma. In 2010, the Prima Medical Foundation was formed with Marin General Hospital and the Marin IPA, which later changed its name to Meritage Medical Network. The physician foundation later expanded to Sonoma Valley Hospital, and Meritage Medical has since made significant inroads in Sonoma and Napa counties, including affiliations with Annadel Medical Group and St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare.
Meritage Medical was also the North Bay’s first accountable care organization under the Affordable Care Act, earning that designation in early 2013, working with Sacramento-based HMO Western Health Advantage and nearly all North Bay Hospitals that aren’t affiliated with Sutter, Kaiser or Adventist Health.
“Everyone is kind of working together,” Mr. Fairchild said, noting that the regional approach helps independent hospitals attract and retain physicians. ”In essence, we need make sure the medical community not just survives but is vibrant.”
Mr. Fairchild joined Redwood Regional Medical Group as CEO in 2008. He has 30-plus years of health care leadership experience, including the roll of vice president of operations for 80-bed, St. Joseph Health-operated Petaluma Valley Hospital. Prior to that, he was the chief administrative officer for Hawaii Health System Corp.’s Maui region, which included Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital, where he was CEO, and Lanai Hospital.
“I can speak on behalf of the entire Prima Foundation that we’re really pleased Wayne Fairchild is working with Prima and Meritage Medical Network,” Mr. Criste said.
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