In a move that has created the second-largest radiology group in the U.S., Radiology Associates of Tarrant County (RATC), Southwest Imaging and Interventional Specialists (SIIS), and Grapevine Radiology Associates (GRA) have entered an agreement to merge their respective radiology practices, effective this past Tuesday.
With headquarters in Fort Worth, the new group will operate under the name Radiology Associates of North Texas and employ 110 board certified radiologists and 260 additional medical and administrative staff. The newly created group is the largest in the state of Texas and is currently one of the largest in the U.S., based on a December 2010 survey of U.S. radiology practices published in Radiology Business Journal.
“We are pleased to be able to continue building our team of medical professionals,” says RATC President Dr. John Queralt. “The goal of this merger is to leverage the strengths of all three groups and give the combined group a critical mass of resources to meet the ever increasing expectations of patients and the medical community for quality medical care. In the current health care climate, it is likely that service demands will continue to increase, and having a larger group allows for subspecialty depth and the financial strength to provide the highest level of service.”
Lynn Elliott, CEO of RATC, corroborates Queralt’s comments, noting that he believes such mergers as that initiated by the three groups will become increasingly common as greater demand is placed on all healthcare providers to step up the breadth and quality of their services. “Smaller practices with perhaps eight, 15, or 20 physicians, that offer good radiology services, but do not have the management infrastructure and/or financial resources to reach the next level independently, will look at joining together in an effort to get to the next level,” he predicts.
RATC currently provides professional radiology interpretation services to 12 hospitals and 13 company-owned imaging centers in Texas’ Tarrant County. The practice also provides professional radiology interpretation and imaging management services to a number of other healthcare providers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The merger with SIIS and GRA will add six hospitals and five area imaging centers to the new entity, opening the door for improved imaging services with a full range of subspecialty radiology coverage to patients, physicians, and hospitals in the DFW Metroplex. Moreover, Elliott states, it will open the door for new business opportunities.
“The radiology community and health care providers as a whole must live up to a lot more expectations today than in the past,” he explains. “For example, in order to qualify to work with an entity like Premerus, providers need to handle a certain level of subspecialty reads. Joining forces with SIIS and GRA will give us the resources to do that, and to provide services to hospitals and referring physicians 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will also permit us to offer the higher level of IT support in demand among hospitals—24-hour turnaround or less and the ability to handle voice dictation. This is a very positive move, from every angle.”