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'Mega' Pediatric Group Allows Doctors to Focus on Patient Care as the Business Side of Private Practice Becomes More Difficult to Sustain
Date:12/9/2008

LONG ISLAND, N.Y., Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Like most pediatricians, Fatema Meah, M.D. became a doctor because she loves caring for children and working with their families. However, when she entered private practice, she was frustrated with how much of her time was being consumed by paperwork and billing issues. Two months ago, she and her partner became part of an unconventional solution that has allowed her to return her attention to her patients -- Allied Pediatrics of New York, PLLC (APNY), a "mega" group with 70 pediatricians in 18 different pediatric offices throughout Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties (http://www.alliedpeds.com).

Dr. Meah is not alone in her frustrations with private practice. A November 2008 report from The Physicians' Foundation says that nearly half of all the nation's primary care physicians plan to stop practicing or reduce the number of patients they see. The reported reasons for dissatisfaction include "increased time dealing with non-clinical paperwork, difficulty receiving reimbursement and burdensome government regulations."

APNY addresses these critical issues with a business model that has been successful in corporate America for decades: gather forces in order to increase buying and negotiating power while turning non-clinical burdens over to administrative experts. Pediatricians, in particular, rely entirely on commercial insurers to provide compensation for the general office visits that make up the bulk of their practices. Reimbursement rates have remained virtually unchanged since 2001, and some medicines, including vaccines, cost the pediatrician more than they receive in compensation. Add to this the rising cost of malpractice insurance and the expenses of running a business, and many private practice pediatricians must take a loss in order to deliver the best care.

"I didn't want the headache of managing all of the small business details, like keeping track of every HMO change or making sure we had toner for the printer. APNY has helped relieve those practice management concerns, so I can focus on my patients while I'm at work and I have more free time for my own family," said Dr. Meah. "One of the benefits I've most enjoyed is working with some of the top pediatricians in the area. We are able to share experiences, consult on clinical problems and share best practices."

Brad Fell, M.D., a founding member of APNY, stated, "Becoming a member of Allied Pediatrics has allowed me to get back to practicing medicine, instead of spending all of my time trying to become a businessman." He went on to explain, "There are benefits to working with a large group that were never possible in a small practice. Billing is very efficient, internal audits ensure that we are coding properly and I can run reports to analyze our purchasing or clinical decisions. My patients benefit from perks like reminder calls about appointments or flu shots and, of course, the after-hours clinic that is now open for all APNY patients."

APNY pediatricians benefit from dramatically reduced administrative burdens, deeper discounts on vaccines and supplies, and better relationships with insurers. At the same time, each practice is able to retain its autonomy and personal style of patient care. Pediatricians interested in joining APNY are carefully screened and must meet high standards for patient care and business practices.

APNY membership has grown 20 percent over the past year, and the group is investing in additional benefits for physicians, staff and patients. APNY recently opened an after-hours clinic in Jericho, New York to provide weeknight care for any APNY patient. APNY provides its member offices with access to a floating nurse practitioner and CPR training. The group began providing new member physicians with an option to join as Associate Members for the first year. Future plans for APNY include more after-hours clinic locations and increased clinical research opportunities.

About Allied Pediatrics of New York

Allied Pediatrics of New York, PLLC is a single-specialty "mega" pediatrics group created when sixteen established and highly regarded practices in Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties came together to improve the quality of pediatric care. Each practice became a Division of APNY and retains clinical control over their offices. More information about Allied Pediatrics of New York is available at http://www.alliedpeds.com.


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SOURCE Allied Pediatrics of New York
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