Friday, May 19, 2023–6:57 a.m.
-John Bailey, Rome News-Tribune-
What some insiders are describing as a widening rift among Harbin Clinic physicians came to light this week as two more doctors left the physicians group to join AdventHealth.
Drs. Chris Merritt and Himanshu Patel are the latest joining those already moving from Harbin Clinic to AdventHealth Redmond: Drs. Michael Ware, Charles Jackson, Kipp Slicker, Robert Styperek, Andrew McCue, Spencer Maddox, Justin Tanner, and Hunter Myers.
The announcement comes as word that cardiology doctors aren’t the only ones who will be moving from Harbin to AdventHealth. However, as of Thursday, there was no definite movement to report.
In a statement posted this week, AdventHealth announced the July opening of the Advent Medical Group Cardiology and Cardiac Electrophysiology. The location of that practice could not be confirmed as of Thursday.
“We are proud of our legacy of providing world-class healthcare as the region’s heart care leader,” the statement reads. “Adding these cardiologists to our team of skilled providers will allow AdventHealth to expand its advanced cardiac care and better serve Northwest Georgia and Alabama. We look forward to working more closely with this group of experts to continue to provide whole-person care to our communities.”
The updates come as Harbin Clinic is in the process of merging with Atrium Health Floyd, the company that purchased the former Floyd healthcare footprint.
Insiders say a meeting was held Wednesday night among Harbin Clinic healthcare professionals to discuss whether to suspend the noncompetition agreements in the contract with Atrium, and whether to release the actual yes or no votes concerning the proposed partnership with Atrium.
The unofficial word is that the meeting “did not go well for either side.”
Several people with knowledge of the proceedings, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the vote was inconclusive. That meeting also came just before a deadline this Friday for the Harbin employees to sign contracts with Atrium.
That contract deadline has been pushed back to Monday. However, it does not appear that would be the official deadline for the partnership deal between Harbin and Atrium itself.
Another question is whether or not the Federal Trade Commission will look at the deal. Up to this point, the federal agency has declined to confirm or comment on whether an investigation has been enacted regarding the proposed merger.
While the focus has remained on the doctors themselves, there also is a question concerning Harbin staff members who have worked alongside the physicians and patients who have been served by those doctors.
One doctor stated that they would continue to treat their longtime patients and, once the cardiology clinic was up and running, those patients would be notified of how to schedule an appointment.