(RALEIGH, N.C.) – State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA, and the State Health Plan (Plan) announced today that Tryon Medical Partners has signed a contract to join the North Carolina State Health Plan Network. Tryon Medical Partners is the Charlotte region's largest independent medical practice with almost 90 board-certified physicians specializing in internal medicine and cardiology, endocrinology, dermatology, gastroenterology, pulmonary sleep and internal medicine subspecialties.
The practice was previously part of Atrium's Mecklenburg Medical Group. In April 2018, 88 physicians in the practice filed a civil lawsuit alleging that Atrium (formerly known as Carolinas HealthCare) engaged in monopolistic and anti-competitive behavior.
The suit was the result of Atrium's refusal to allow Mecklenburg Medical Group doctors to be released from Atrium's non-compete restrictions, so they could create the stand-alone practice now known as Tryon Medical Partners. In July 2018, the lawsuit was settled, and in early Sept. 2018, Tryon Medical Partners opened its first two clinics. Today, Tryon doctors are supported by 300 medical professionals, operate eight clinics across Mecklenburg County — and serve more than 100,000 patients.
“We cannot be more pleased that Tryon Medical Partners is one of the first and largest practices to join our new network," said Treasurer Folwell. “At a time when independent physician practices are being taken over by big hospital groups, Dr. Owen and the other physicians have shown the courage to go back to their roots and focus their attention on patients, not profits."
Dr. K. Dale Owen, Jr., a cardiologist and Chief Executive Officer of Tryon Medical Group, was the leader of the organization's effort to become an independent physician practice.
“For us it's really about doing what's best for our patients," said Dr. Owen. “It's clear that a 'business as usual approach' in health care is not working and we need to find new and more sustainable approaches to more effectively serve patients.
“We believe that being part of the new North Carolina State Health Plan Network will provide added value and transparency and lead to better outcomes for our patients' health," Owen added.
The new North Carolina State Health Plan Network is the result of the Clear Pricing Project (CPP) that was announced last year. Under CPP, the Plan will move away from a commercial-based payment model to a reference-based, transparent pricing model tied to Medicare rates. Health care providers will be reimbursed for their services at Medicare rates plus an average of 82 percent.
Providers should visit www.bluecrossnc.com/providers/ncstatehealthplannetwork for more information. Plan members can find more information regarding the Clear Pricing Project at www.shpnc.org.
The State Health Plan, a division of the N.C. Department of State Treasurer, provides health care coverage to more than 727,000 teachers, state employees, current and former lawmakers, state university and community college personnel and their dependents, including non-Medicare and Medicare retirees.