One of Corbin’s last remaining private practice primary care physicians’ offices agreed last week to become part of Grace Health, and both sides say it will provide better care at a reduced cost for patients.
Turner, Whitley and Morton, MDs signed paperwork last week to officially become part of Grace Health — a local community health center.
Michael Stanley, CEO of Grace Health, said the company was excited to be partnering with one of the area’s most reputable practices.
“This will really enhance outcomes for your patients,” Stanley said. “We recognize the service that you’ve already been providing the community, and we hope together as a team, we’ll be able to offer other services to patients as well.”
Dr. Bobby Turner, who owned the practice with Drs. Daniel Whitley and Steven Morton, said he’s been a physician in private practice for 36 years, but that the sale to Grace Health was necessary to keep pace with increasingly complex government regulations.
“I think it’s getting so complicated, it’s difficult for a small group to figure out all these changes and to know what to do,” he said. “We thought we needed some expert help, so we went with Grace to provide those services for us.”
Turner said he felt the move would be beneficial to patients mainly because it would allow for the expansion and addition of services, like behavior health for instance, and reduce costs.
Stanley pointed out that patients of community health centers could take advantage of sliding fee scales and reduced medication costs if they are 200 percent below the federal poverty line.
“Now they can get services they couldn’t get before and medications that maybe they weren’t able to afford,” Stanley said. “They have such a great practice, but we feel that this way we can help give more access to more patients than ever before.”
Stanley said despite an uncertain political landscape regarding changes to the nation’s current medical system, Grace Health is on solid footing.
“With community health centers, we aren’t concerned about losing those benefits,” he said. “They’ve had bipartisan support for 52 years now. A lot of people don’t recognize how well established community health centers are.”
The acquisition is the second big purchase of a local private practice in the last year. Grace Health bought out Watts and Perry in 2016.
Stanley said Grace Community has grown quickly over the last four years. In 2012, the company had 27 employees. It now has 236.