The Marin-Sonoma IPA announced its name is now Meritage Medical Network, citing a need to identify itself beyond specific geographic areas as it charts future growth while signaling a first step to becoming an accountable care organization, or ACO.
“Strategically, it doesn’t make sense any more for our name to be tied to a geography,” said Joel Criste, chief executive officer. “In addition, we want to emphasize our network — we are not only a group of physicians. We are a network of physicians, nurses, clinical and administrative staff, hospitals surgery centers, urgent care centers, rehabilitation facilities, wellness classes educators and more.”
The newly named medical network cited two additional factors: the changing health care landscape, noting that physicians are increasingly joining larger groups and aligning with hospitals and other health systems, much of it being driven by the Affordable Care Act, and possible expansion eastward.
“We are looking at expanding further east, into Napa for now,” spokeswoman Marcy Norenius said.
Mr. Criste noted the evolving environment for physicians.
“The ‘individual practice association’ part of our name just does not tell the whole story anymore,” Mr. Criste said, adding that coordinated care systems are no longer solely tied to HMOs.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has established accountable care organizations as part of the ACA, and the Meritage Medical Network has stated in the past that it intends on becoming an ACO, which are aimed at better coordination between providers to reduce costly, redundant hospitalizations. Mr. Criste has previously said the network would seek the designation by 2013.
“As a practicing physician I see tremendous value in the sharing of information in real time,” said David Andrew, Meritage’s medical director. “The way Meritage Medical Network works together provides the best possible health outcomes for our patients.”
In addition to contracting with HMO plans for its member physicians, the medical network offers continuing medical education classes, patient education classes, clinical management programs and help with adoption of electronic health records.
This item was originally published online Aug. 29.***
Mark Zielazinski has joined Marin General Hospital as chief information and technology integration officer and will again be reporting to CEO Lee Domanico, for whom he worked at El Camino Hospital before Mr. Domanico left in 2006.
Soma Bulusu will continue his role as vice president of information technology at Marin General, a position he’s held since the hospital’s transition back to district control, and will report to Mr. Zielazinski
Since early 2010, Mr. Zielazinski had been serving as chief information officer at Alameda County Medical Center, where his responsibilities included information systems, telecommunications, health information management and bio-medical engineering. Prior to that he was CIO at Children’s Hospital Central California in Madera. He was CIO at El Camino from 2001 to 2006, during which time he was a member of the three-person steering committee that laid the groundwork for El Camino’s successful design and construction of a new $500 million new hospital.
Marin General, likewise, is preparing to float a bond measure that will cover about half the cost of a $500 million rebuild of its 235-bed facility, which must be completed by 2020, per state seismic regulations. ***
The Palm Drive Health Care District recently voted to approve Tom Harlan as Palm Drive Hospital’s new chief executive officer.