November 5, 1997
Media Contact: Gary Stephenson
Johns Hopkins University and Milles, Oken and Seals, a prominent internal medicine practice in Ellicott City/Columbia, have signed an innovative agreement designed to expand the physicians' practice without relinquishing control of it.
The partnership gives Hopkins a minority equity interest in the Howard County practice in return for Hopkins commitment to establish selected specialty clinics, preventive care programs and a clinical research center staffed by Hopkins faculty and Howard County community physicians.
To provide space for these clinics, Johns Hopkins Medicine will lease space at 5900 Cedar Lane in Columbia, close to Howard County General Hospital. Other initiatives for the partnership may include a geriatrics network in Howard County.
"It's really about enhancing health care in this area," adds Gary Milles, M.D. "If we were just interested in the bottom line economics of health care, we could have gone with any number of large, for-profit groups. This partnership with Hopkins is a reaffirmation of our commitment to community health and melds the complementary strengths of both organizations."
For Hopkins, the partnership opens new doors. "It's important to be where the patients are," says Department of Medicine Director Edward Benz, M.D. "Howard County is one of the fastest growing areas on the East Coast. The best way for us to continue as a force outside our own immediate area is to partner with other physicians and institutions. But we can't just barge in and go into competition with local doctors," he emphasizes. "We have to ask what areas they are thin in, then provide services in those areas."
Specialty services are likely to include electrophysiology, pediatric and women's orthopedics, sports medicine, neurodegenerative diseases, heart disease protection, and AIDS care. Community health education programs, chronic pain evaluation, stress management, including a mind-body clinic, and nutrition programs, are also planned.
Jerry Seals, M.D., says the partnership represents "a new kind of strategic alliance for the area. The health interests of the community are being met, without a takeover."
The Cedar Lane facility will extend the shared-suite concept that is now a mainstay at Johns Hopkins at Green Spring Station. "By aligning ourselves with a physician group that has a demonstrated record of first-rate health care and an abiding commitment to serving the community, the new partnership gives us a solid foundation upon which to build," says Benz. "In combination, we can now provide a full array of medical services for the community, beyond what either of us could have provided individually."