7 family physicians bring foundation's network to 85 providers

[caption id="attachment_16644" align="alignright" width="288" caption="Sutter Medical Foundation North Bay purchased the Doyle Park Family Medicine primary care practice in Santa Rosa."][/caption]

SANTA ROSA, NORTH BAY – Sutter Medical Foundation North Bay continued its growth with the purchase of a veteran Santa Rosa primary care practice Nov. 1.

The rapidly expanding Sutter Health physician network brought its total North Bay reach to 85 providers with the deal, effectively absorbing the seven-physician Doyle Park Family Medicine group. The 14-year-old practice also includes two family nurse practitioners and a 7,000-square-foot office at 510 Doyle Park Dr.

“The physicians in my group have been colleagues and worked side by side with Sutter doctors for years and years and always considered merging forces,” said Doyle Park physician Larry Slater.

“In looking where health care and Sutter’s growth is going, the time seemed right to form a partnership.”

Dr. Slater said the medical group has always maintained positive financial standing, but the doctors decided the larger foundation could provide longer-term stability. The agreement is the latest in an industry-wide move toward doctors consolidating into larger medical groups.

Under the foundation model, Sutter will assume all business responsibilities and doctors will focus on providing care. The move will also allow Doyle Park patients to maintain electronic medical records, which was infrastructure the physicians could not afford on their own.

“Networks like Sutter’s have also been really successful in recruiting new doctors to the area, and we knew that over time we would need to recruit some younger partners,” Dr. Slater said.

“Our hope is that our patients will benefit from better access to specialists, but other than that the change should be completely seamless.”

He said all of the practice’s staff stayed on through the acquisition.

Sutter Foundation Executive Director Chris Rogers described the purchase as a “milestone” for the organization in creating a solid primary care base and integrated multispecialty practice.

Beginning on Jan. 1, the North Bay Foundation will merge with its San Francisco counterpart as part of an organization-wide regionalization strategy. Once implemented, the network will include more than 200 providers.

“The regionalization is going to bring in specialties that the North Bay is desperately lacking as well as offer a new level of connectivity of care,” he said.

Doyle Park’s medical professionals include Renee Armstrong, Laurie Cederberg, Phyllis Guttman, Kathy Horan, Naomi Mc Auliffe, Gary McLeod, Gloria Molica and Amy Shaw.