More than two dozen independent orthopedic physician practices have joined together to form one of the largest orthopedic groups in the country. With a footprint that spans 32 zip codes in metropolitan Washington D.C., Virginia, and Maryland, 128 physicians, and more than $150 million in revenue, The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics (CAO), is hoping its size will ensure survival for physicians who do not want to sell their private practice to a hospital.
An expanding orthopedic practice is not news, but the business model CAO has embraced is different than adding physicians into an already existing practice or launching a new practice from the ground up with like-minded doctors. Rather, CAO is a joint corporation that allows established practices to continue operating independently, says Denny Tritinger, executive director of CAO.
"They maintain their own board structure within the group, and their pay structure is the same as it was before," says Tritinger. "This allowed them to feel that this wasn't a merger; this was a combination of practices under one tax ID number, which is a new corporation. But there's a lot more autonomy at the group level."
Being able to maintain independence was a key factor during the formation of the group, says CAO President, Nicholas Grosso, MD, an orthopedic surgeon whose three-location, 14-phyisician group is one of the largest practices within CAO.