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Local surgeons stitch up new collaboration

By Sheila Hagar, Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Wash.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

June 18--WALLA WALLA -- Two area medical providers were surgically joined together this week.

Walla Walla General Hospital and Walla Walla Clinic have announced a collaboration that brings two of the hospital's surgeons to the outpatient surgery center at the clinic.

Beginning in August, Drs. Scott Newbold and Daryl Reid of Adventist Health will serve patients using Walla Walla Clinic Ambulatory Surgery Center while continuing their hospital practices, officials said.

"This transition developed out of conversations between both organizations regarding ways to better serve their respective patients and provide surgical care to the Walla Walla community," said WWGH spokeswoman Kristi Spurgeon Johnson in a news release.

Recruiting surgeons to here and other small cities is historically difficult -- striking a balance between having a personal life as an on-call surgeon and a busy enough private practice to sustain family life is a real issue, said Kevin Michaelson, chief executive officer of Walla Walla Clinic. "We have to be able to spread that out."

It's also a start of what must come under the Affordable Care Act, he noted.

"Moving forward in health care reform, the three major organizations here in town will have to look at new ways to partner without all three investing in the same things," such as equipment and areas of specialty care, Michaelson said.

"By getting access to the surgery center, typically most procedures can cost up to 50 percent less. In physician-owned groups, compared to hospitals, ancillary services (such as labs, X-ray and physical therapy) can be two to three times cheaper."

Monty Knittel, president of Walla Walla General Hospital, agreed the move is an important step in integrating health care in the Valley. As well, specialists from Walla Walla Clinic can now lease space in Reid and Newbold's office and come to the hospital campus to see patients once a week, Spurgeon Johnson said.

Newbold opened his practice here in 1991 and was joined by Reid in 2011. Specialties planned for rotation include orthopedic surgery and gastroenterology, with other specialties being considered.

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 526-8322.

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(c)2014 Walla Walla Union-Bulletin (Walla Walla, Wash.)

Visit Walla Walla Union-Bulletin (Walla Walla, Wash.) at union-bulletin.com

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