After learning to live without Sutter Health since 2010, Radiological Associates of Sacramento (RAS) will join once again with the Northern California-based health network to provide diagnostic imaging and radiation oncology services across the greater Sacramento region.
According to an RAS press release, Sutter Medical Foundation will own and operate RAS’ Radiation Oncology and Diagnostic Imaging services effective February 2014. RAS shareholder physicians will join Sutter Medical Group (SMG).
It is expected that Sutter Health will have a need for the services of the current RAS employees. “This is an exciting time for health care in our region as two quality organizations with long histories embark on a new chapter together,” James Conforti, regional president of Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region, said in a press release. "Both Sutter and RAS believe it is always our duty to provide the most integrated, timely, accurate and high-quality medical care and service for patients. Our collaboration only strengthens that tradition.”
Industry watchers say the move makes sense in light of efforts by Sutter Health to integrate vertically and horizontally. Sutter launched its own commercial HMO health plan earlier this year, and the acquisition is expected to help them control overall costs—including imaging costs.
“Joining our two organizations makes perfect sense from a clinical value and patient quality perspective,” said Jonathan Breslau, MD, FACR, medical group president and chairman of the board for RAS, in a prepared statement. "We have united because of our similarities as organizations, our vision and our thought to giving patients greater access to care. Simply said, we can do more together for our patients.”
Sutter officials say that the combined clinical workforce will be able to share best practices in caring for all patients from Auburn to Vacaville. “Sutter Medical Group welcomes the addition of Radiological Associates of Sacramento's long-standing, respected community physicians," Christine Griger, MD, president and CEO of SMG, said in a press release. “This broadened team of clinicians will work collaboratively to provide patients with a comprehensive range of services on which we hope to expand in the future.”
These services include diagnostic imaging (adult and pediatric), comprehensive women's imaging, PET and nuclear medicine, radiation oncology, interventional and neurointerventional radiology, and teleradiology services.
Arl Van Moore, Jr., MD, FACR, chairman and CEO of Strategic Radiology (SR) LLC, worked with RAS until early this year, and believes their paths could cross again despite the acquisition. “We wish them well,” says Van Moore. “When they were with us, they contributed positively, and we might look for opportunities to work with them again in the future.”