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Physician group at MCO may reorganize

Declining profits have caused the physician group that serves the Medical College of Ohio Hospitals to consider some organizational changes.

Associated Physicians of Medical College of Ohio is a private, for-profit group of about 200 health professionals, mostly physicians, who provide patient care through MCO or MCO-affiliated facilities. Generally, any full or part-time faculty member of MCO who is involved in patient care is a member of the group.

Dr. Larry Johnson, the group's president, said the group has suffered financially for quite some time. He said the group's board voted last week to consider a variety of options, which could include group members becoming state employees under MCO. That move could result in cheaper malpractice insurance rates.

In addition, the group and MCO might be able to react more quickly to changes in the health insurance market if they were responding as one unit, Dr. Johnson said. All the options would include the group shifting from a for-profit company to a nonprofit group. “We still need lots of people's input. It's not a done deal,” Dr. Johnson said.

Dr. Nabil Ebraheim, a member of the board, said there is some concern among group members that becoming nonprofit, state employees could hurt MCO recruitment efforts. “To hire good teachers, you have to pay them very well, and to get them to work in Toledo you have to pay them very, very well, and I don't know if the new system will be able to provide this,” he said.

Dr. Johnson said he expected it would take six months to a year before the group decides what to do. He said patients probably wouldn't notice any of the changes if the options being considered were adopted.

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