We really are part of the fabric of the health-care delivery model for the greater Waterbury market. The administration sees our involvement on a daily basis, and as a result of all of our interactions, our practice is valued.
Naugatuck Valley Radiological Associates (NVRA), one of Strategic Radiology’s newest affiliate practices, has excelled at meeting the needs of the Waterbury, CT, community for 30 years. It has forged a tight relationship with St. Mary’s Hospital, founded in 1909 by the Sisters of Chamber and now a Level II trauma center. NVRA operates four outpatient imaging centers in the community—including two joint ventures with the hospital.
The practice is well-entrenched in the community, equally well-known to patients, referring physicians, and hospital executives. NVRA’s 13 subspecialist radiologists are active in four different cancer conferences at the cancer center shared by two Waterbury hospitals, serving on multiple committees, including accreditation, credentialing, and a medical executive committee and participating in several key hospital programs, including trauma and stroke.
“We really are part of the fabric of the health-care delivery model for the greater Waterbury market,” said Geoffrey L. Manton, MD, practice president. “The administration sees our involvement on a daily basis, and as a result of all of our interactions, our practice is valued.”
Adds Paul Masotto, NVRA executive director: “Our management team also works very closely with the administrative team at the hospital. Management and IT have monthly meetings, and we are always discussing opportunities to improve service both at the hospital and in our imaging centers.”
The IT–Marketing Alliance
Information technology is a key tool in NVRA’s toolbox, deployed to network all facilities—including a second hospital served by NVRA—so that images are accessible and reports always timely.
Further, the practice has taken steps to integrate marketing and IT platforms to optimize service to referrers and patients.
“Bringing IT and marketing people together has been a great exercise and we are expanding it further,” Masotto advises. “We are looking at new avenues, specifically how to enhance patient engagement in operations, and the next step in deploying tools is going to be physician engagement. The marketing and IT connection is extremely important, and the information they bring back to management has been useful.”
NVRA was the first outpatient imaging provider in Connecticut to achieve the American College of Radiology’s Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence designation, and all four centers are certified. “This brought a new level of appreciation about what we do, including to our management team and staff,” Masotto said.
Adds Manton: “It also offers a measure of security for our patients—we are delivering the same level of care that our patients would get in the hospital. If patients receive services at our outpatient offices, they are receiving the best care around—we are not just saying it, we are validating it.”
Patient-centered care is a core NVRA value, and one year ago, the practice tackled price transparency. “Just as you are seeing third-party payors looking for lower-cost options for their patients, patients with high-deductible plans are looking for opportunities where they can access affordable, good quality service and feel comfortable and confident in the cost, with no surprises,” Masotto said. “We implemented a price transparency policy less than a year ago, and it is working out very well. We’ve had nothing but positive feedback—not only from the patients but also from many of our referrers.”
The Connecticut market is undergoing the same consolidation experienced by other markets across the country, according to Dr. Manton. “There are a couple of really large players, and everyone is extending their market and service areas,” he observes, adding that the smaller Waterbury market occupied by NVRA is not immune to the effects. “Fortunately, our hospital has aligned with other hospitals in the state and region through a national group, Trinity Health, based in Michigan. We are now part of a regional health system in Connecticut and Massachusetts.”
What concerns Dr. Manton are the changes associated with consolidation, be they IT transitions or disruptions to relationships established over 30 years. “With the leadership change, we’ve lost some of our relationships, which has made it more difficult for us to achieve some of our goals,” Dr. Manton observes. “We’ve always been very good at being nimble and able to enact initiatives very quickly. Now we have to navigate a bureaucracy that we were spared from in the past.”
In aligning with Strategic Radiology, NVRA looks forward to collaborating with other practices keen on providing a quality product to patients, hospital partners, and referring physicians. “Being recognized by Strategic Radiology as having similar ideals and characteristics has been great,” Dr. Manton shares. “Having the SR Patient Safety Organization as a backbone to what we’ve already been doing fills our bench with resources.”
Adds Masotto: “I have been involved in a lot of different meetings over the years, and our first experience with Strategic’s RSNA breakfast was very positive. The membership was very open, and everyone introduced themselves and shared ideas. We are looking forward to more.”
Hub is the monthly newsletter published for the membership of Strategic Radiology practices. It includes coalition and practice news as well as news and commentary of interest to radiology professionals.
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