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Two area practices merge with Longstreet

POSTED: July 2, 2014 12:58 a.m.

The Longstreet Clinic in Gainesville has extended its reach with the acquisition of two independent primary care practices — Mountain Internal Medicine in Demorest and Valley View Medical Center in Dahlonega.

The merger was effective Tuesday, but has been in the works since February, said Dr. Rhett Weaver of Mountain Internal Medicine.

“For most of the physicians that have been around a while that are used to working for ourselves, this is a big consideration where you’re not completely in charge,” he said.

Weaver has owned and supervised Mountain Internal Medicine for the past 22 years, keeping medical records the old-fashioned way without much interference, until the merger.

“I’ll be honest, I’ve not been a fan of electronic records in the past, but the one we’re using now I’m actually very impressed with,” he said. “It’s a change. Electronic records can be a lot more powerful and useful, but you have to get used to using them. That’s the learning curve. It’s a case of an old dog learning new tricks, I’m afraid.”

This update to the electronic medical records system is a part of what attracted Weaver and his fellow doctor, Michael Mulberry, to merge with TLC.

“The way everything’s evolving these days with billing and medical records, to do that on your own is cost-prohibitive. You need to be able to share resources,” he said.

Mulberry, Valley View Medical Center’s owner of three years, said he is looking forward to what these resources will mean for his practice.

“I’ll be doing less managing of the office and more seeing my patients. Plus, my patients will have access to more resources to help them get what they need.”

With the new system, these two doctors and patients will have more immediate access to important medical records.

“Now, I can pull up a surgeon’s note instead of going through the old rigmarole. Sometimes we would never get medical records when we requested. Sometimes it would take days or weeks,” Mulberry said.

This structure is what independent practices need to thrive nowadays, TLC CEO Mimi Collins said.

“We add the infrastructure of a larger organization and implement electronic records and provide them the support to operate in a very highly regulatory environment and that’s very difficult for a small practice to do,” she said.

TLC already has 150 health care providers in nine cities across Northeast Georgia. The company was founded in 1995 out of eight practices, so a merger of this kind is nothing new.

“For us it’s a great opportunity to grow our primary care base. To grow by having practices that have patients and that are already very successful practices,” Collins said. “As we look at the changes in health care it’s important that we’re growing and meeting that larger need in all the communities we serve.”


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