No patient impact expected as contract between physician group and hospital ends

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – In a letter obtained by WJBF NewsChannel 6, the physicians group (University Physicians Associates), will become autonomous in Augusta. Relationships between patients and their physicians as well as patients and University Hospital will not be interrupted.

University Physicians Associates is the group of 400 physician stakeholders within 27 local practices that serve the CSRA under contract with University Hospital.  The letter, authored by UPA Chairman Chris Carlson, goes on to assure its members that the group will remain solvent and they will be able to move into 2021 seamlessly.

The letter says, University Hospital blames a financial crisis caused by the COVID pandemic as the reason behind the move to pull its funding from the UPA group.  Quoting the letter from Chairman Carlson, “The hospital has been dealing with a significant and financial crisis facing COVID and are concerned that the goals of the hospital and UPA may no longer be as closely aligned as in the past.”

University Hospital CEO, James Davis issued the following statement about the decision and the impact the COVID pandemic has had on University Hospital; “The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted University Hospital as it has every hospital in the country. While still financially strong, we are looking forward to 2021 and evaluating the value of every aspect of our business as we do not anticipate future federal funding support as we received in 2020. The Health Link relationship was deemed to not provide the value to the health system including both its hospitals and physicians versus the costs of the relationship, therefore it is not being continued. We wish the UPA well as they pursue other opportunities. University remains strong and committed to providing high-quality, safe and affordable care to our patients as we continue to manage through this pandemic.”

Prior to being removed from the University Hospital website, the description of the contractual partnership stated University Hospital and University Physicians Associates jointly owned “Health Link” a Physician-Hospital Organization (PHO) with several divisions. In a statement provided to WJBF by University Hospital, the joint venture between University Hospital and University Physician Associates was “for the purpose of contracting and enrolling physicians into health plans.” The dissolution of the agreement does not affect patients or their access to University Hospital and the medical staff standing along with privileges to UPA physicians will not change.

The physicians group leadership adds in the letter, it has done an in depth analysis of the network, staffing and employee responsibilities and while there will be some redistribution of duties they believe that once an independent group it will be able to keep the majority of its current employees. 

Information about the joint agreement (as you see in the images above)  between University Hospital and University Physician Associates have been removed from the hospital’s website as of September 25th.

See the letter below or click HERE to view.


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