A Tri-City radiology group has announced plans to merge with a Spokane clinic.
Columbia Basin Imaging of the Tri-Cities, and Inland Imaging PS of Spokane are combining their professional radiology groups, effective this September.
CBI will be folded into Inland Imaging as part of the merger.
CBI, made up of a Tri-City-based group of physicians, has provided radiology services at Kadlec Regional Medical Center for more than 30 years.
“This partnership not only helps us better support radiology and imaging services throughout the region, it will also help promote the integration of services on the Kadlec campus by combining both interventional and diagnostic radiology services within the new group,” said Dr. Richard Nguyen, president of CBI, in a statement.
Nguyen said Inland Imaging approached the group two to three years ago to consider a merger, but had declined because the demographics of CBI's radiologists were older and they wanted to stay independent. Today, the demographics are drastically different, he said.
"It’s a very good move for the group and it was a unanimous decision by the shareholders," he said.
CBI’s sub-specialized and general radiologists provide professional interpretations for patients of Kadlec Regional Medical Center, free-standing emergency departments, urgent care clinics and physician offices.
The growing practice expects to interpret close to 300,000 studies, or imaging results, by the end of the year and expects this number to grow by 10 percent in 2019, Nguyen said. Last year, the group interpreted 250,000 studies.
“Part of reason we wanted to merge with Inland is because they’re a bigger group. This move facilitates patient care in Eastern Washington as Inland has a lot of contracts and operations throughout Eastern Washington," Nguyen said.
"We heard the siren call from our local clinicians here in the Tri-Cities. They wanted their studies to be read at the sub-specialist level, which was going to be a challenge with 12 radiologists,” he said.
Physicians who have sub-specialities in radiology means they receive special training and are experts in acquiring and interpreting images for specific parts of the body.
Nguyen said the merger means patients will have more peace of mind knowing their radiologists have specialized training, calling it "an immediate benefit for patients."
Inland Imaging has been operating in Spokane since 1930.
The organization’s board-certified radiologists serve outpatient imaging centers, urban and rural medical centers, hospitals, clinics and private practices in western, central and eastern Washington, northern Idaho and western Montana.
“By expanding our geographic footprint to more closely match that of our important health system partner, we are able to generate more effective ways to deliver services,” said Inland Imaging CEO Steve Duvoisin in a statement. “It allows us to see the region’s health care resources in a more global and holistic way. That broader point of view helps us imagine new ways to raise our quality and efficiency while holding down costs by serving more patients around the region.”
Nguyen said Inland Imaging's "business know-how" is another benefit of the merger as the group navigates reimbursement challenges related to the Affordable Care Act.
Combining the two groups allows a better connection to the region’s medical imaging technology, expertise and resources to improve the way patients service, said Dr. Jayson Brower, president of Inland Imaging, in a statement.
“This partnership allows us to promote best practices and standardization, while assuring that studies are reviewed by the sub-specialized radiologists best equipped to read them. The ultimate winner is the patient,” he said.
In addition, Inland Imaging’s radiologists own Inland Imaging Business Associates, a company that provides various radiology business and IT services to clients throughout the Northwest.
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