Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp., Memphis, Tenn., and NEA Clinic, Jonesboro, Ark., announced that they have expanded their partnership to make the physician group part of the Baptist system, in part as preparation for healthcare reform. Baptist and the clinic have been 60-40 joint venture partners in 100-bed NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital, Jonesboro, since October 2007, when Baptist bought out the stake in the hospital owned by Community Health Systems, Franklin, Tenn. Community acquired its stake in its July 2007 acquisition of Triad Hospitals. The physician group will be renamed NEA Baptist Clinic and will convert to not-for-profit status, Baptist and the clinic say in a news release. Baptist has committed to invest $400 million in northeast Arkansas. “There is a clear national trend toward large physician groups and hospital systems coming together in partnerships and forming integrated clinical enterprises,” Jim Boswell, NEA Clinic's CEO, says in a news release. Baptist and the clinic spent months studying physician-led hospital systems such as the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and the Mayo Clinic, Boswell adds. Baptist operates 15 hospitals in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. NEA Clinic includes more than 90 physicians.
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