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In The News

St. Joseph Health Merges With Redwood Regional

St. Joseph Health and Redwood Regional Medical Group, the largest physician-owned group in North Bay, have merged operations, with the Santa Rosa-based medical group becoming part of St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare and its affiliated Annadel Medical Group, officials said Monday. 

The announcement caps off nearly a year of speculation that Redwood Regional, which specializes in oncology and related services, would merge with a larger entity, as independent physician groups attempt to evolve in a rapidly shifting business landscape under the Affordable Care Act and as hospital systems seek further physician alignment and more diversified services.

Signs of the movement became more evident earlier this year when Wayne Fairchild, then chief executive officer of Redwood Regional, left his position to join Novato-based Prima Medical Group. St. Joseph Health, which operates Santa Rosa Memorial and Petaluma Valley hospitals, emerged in recent months as the likely match.

The agreement, reached after nine months of negotiations, says that a majority of control in Redwood Regional would go to St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare, the network’s physician foundation and operator of the fast-growing Annadel Medical Group.

Effective Tuesday, April 1, 19 of Redwood Regional’s 31 physicians will join Annadel, while the outpatient imaging studies and oncology treatment provided by Redwood Regional will continue through Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, officials said. Twelve radiologists who have been part of Redwood Regional have formed a new group, Redwood Radiology Group, and will continue to provide diagnostic and interventional radiology throughout the area, according to the announcement.

Redwood Regional operates in five counties, including Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Mendocino and Lake, and has been based in Santa Rosa since the 1950s. The group serves more than 500 patients per day out of eight area locations. Annadel said it will maintain those locations and practices in collaboration with Redwood Radiology Group.

“North Bay communities have depended upon Redwood Regional Medical Group to provide advanced cancer care, surgical services, and radiology studies for many decades,” said Bob Just, regional chief operating officer of St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare, in a statement. “The distinguished physicians and staff at Redwood have long been recognized for providing essential health care services throughout the region, and we are proud to partner with them to uphold the high quality of care their patients have come to expect.”

Leaders of all parties involved in the transition finalized terms of their agreement on Monday, bringing to fruition a process that began in July 2013. Officials noted the new partnership is consistent with national health care trends that are shifting toward further integration between physician groups, hospitals, outpatient services and health systems. 

Wayne Keiser, MD, an oncologist with Redwood Regional since 1977 who has presided over his medical group’s board of directors, cited his colleagues’ dedication to sustaining the work begun by Redwood’s founders and all who have since worked to expand access to their care.

“We are committed to our North Bay communities, to our patients, and to their ongoing care,” said Dr. Keiser, who along with radiologist Robert Feiwell, MD, has served as a co-chief executive for the group. “We look forward to an exceptional partnership with St. Joseph Health and a seamless transition for patients and their families.”

Officials said there would be no interruption in care and that patients can continue to access services from Annadel and St. Joseph Health at Redwood Regional’s existing Sotoyome Street and Fountaingrove campuses in Santa Rosa as well as existing sites in Petaluma, Healdsburg, Napa, Ukiah, Lakeport and Novato.

Collectively, these sites employ about 200. They have been hired either by St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare or St. Joseph Health.

The physicians of Redwood Radiology will continue to be headquartered at 121 Sotoyome St. in Santa Rosa.

Talks of Redwood Regional’s alignment with a larger entity have been ongoing for nearly two years and did not always include St. Joseph Health. Before St. Joseph Health emerged as the most likely fit, the medical group had been in talks with San Francisco-based health information technology giant McKesson, according to a McKesson spokeswoman.

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