Four independent orthopedic physician groups across North Carolina have joined to form EmergeOrtho, one of the largest N.C. doctor-owned orthopedic practices.
The practices, which employ a combined 126 physicians, are Blue Ridge Bone and Joint of Asheville, Hendersonville and Arden; Carolina Orthopaedic Specialists with offices in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties; OrthoWilmington, with offices in Brunswick, New Hanover and Onslow counties; and Triangle Orthopaedic Associates in the Raleigh-Durham area. The four practices will begin operating under the EmergeOrtho name on Aug. 1. Financial terms were not disclosed.
EmergeOrtho has 49 office locations in 21 N.C. counties. Additional, unnamed practices are poised to join in early 2017, according to the statement. The combined practices also includes 237 physician assistants, nurse practitioners and therapists.
Many U.S. hospitals, including those in North Carolina, have established their own practice groups to compete with independent partnerships owned by physicians. Many physicians deplore the trend, while hospitals contend joint ownership improves patient outcomes by enabling more collaboration. Orthopedists are among the medical practices in which independent groups such as EmergeOrtho and Charlotte-based OrthoCarolina still have substantial market shares. OrthoCarolina has more than 150 doctors and 35 offices.
The integrated group will “allow physicians to remain independent and provide their own higher quality, lower cost care,” Dr. Thomas Dimmig, president of Triangle Orthopaedic Associates, said in a statement. The merged practices followed nearly two years of discussions among the groups, said Charles Wilson, who is CEO of Triangle Orthopaedic and acting CEO of EmergeOrtho.
The EmergeOrtho offices will use the same electronic health records system. The access to medical information enables patients treated for injury while traveling to follow up with their hometown provider.