From New Jersey Monthly

Happier or Not? Independent Doctors Join Larger Groups

Wayne J. Guglielmo

Disclosures

February 03, 2015

In This Article

Dr Bruce Aronwald, Barnabas Health Medical Group

After 25 years in private practice, Aronwald, an osteopathic family physician, liked to think of himself as a "forward thinker" who regularly looked ahead to anticipate changes in the field. He had started with one office and gradually added doctors, nurses, and ancillary services, forming Morristown Medical Group, which today consists of six doctors and 25 full-time employees in three locations.

In 2002, Aronwald started the state's first concierge practice, a form of care in which patients pay an annual fee or retainer for enhanced access to the physician of their choice. (Only a portion of Aronwald's patients are enrolled in his concierge practice.) He also started a consulting/management company to help other physicians set-up similar practices. And in 2006, his group was one of the first in the state to use an office-based EHR.

But by 2012, with healthcare models changing, Aronwald concluded it would be hard to continue as "an independent stand-alone group."

Aronwald was recruited by several hospital systems, but was drawn to Barnabas Health, the largest nonprofit healthcare system in the state. Despite its size, Aronwald felt an immediate personal connection with "the Barnabas people." In November 2013, he and his partners became affiliates of the 600-doctor group.

Most of the changes in his practice have been administrative—the "back-end stuff that patients don't experience but were necessary changes." Fewer changes have occurred in patient care. "We've been doing a good job for many years, and I think Barnabas recognizes that and was attracted to us initially because of that," says Aronwald. "They've been very hands-off."

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