ENT and Allergy Associates LLP (ENTA), which has grown to include 208 physicians in 43 clinical offices from Poughkeepsie to the Jersey Shore and Southampton on Long Island, marked the formal opening of its new 40,000-square-foot headquarters with a ribbon-cutting on June 20.
The medical group’s facility in GHP Office Realty’s pyramid-shaped six-story building at 660 White Plains Road in Tarrytown is where all back-office functions are being handled for the practice, which CEO Robert Glazer said will record more than 1.1 million patient visits during 2019.
“At this point, we’re seeing approximately 90,000 patients per month,” Glazer told the Business Journal. He expects the growth to continue. “In 1997, when I was hired as the CFO, we were initially a group of 12 physicians. And over this 22-year period, with strategic and methodical and well-timed mergers and recruitment, we’ve grown to be now 208 physicians.”
He said ENTA already is the largest practice in its field in the U.S., and he expects there to be 220 physicians practicing with ENTA by Jan. 1, 2020.
“Our physicians need to spend their time practicing quality medicine,” Glazer said. “The back-office operation, dealing with insurance companies, dealing with IT (information technology), marketing, compliance, all of these non-medical issues are taken care of in this back-office operation.”
Approximately 300 people work in the new offices. “That includes our call center operation, where we’re answering the calls for all 43 offices, about 35,000 phone calls a week,” Glazer said, noting that about 45% of the calls received are for appointments and that the average wait time for help on the phone is just 18 seconds.
While the Business Journal was visiting the call center, a large video screen on one wall reported that the telephone wait time was zero seconds. More than 115 agents can work in the call center.
Glazer noted that the billing department has a lot of bills to process. “We’re seeing 90,000 patients a month. That means 90,000 bills need to go out and we figure out how to adjudicate them properly, dealing with all the different insurance companies. We’ve got a legal and compliance and a credentialing division which ensures that our physicians’ licenses and our audiologists’ licenses and medical malpractice documents are in place.”
Glazer said they also take care of basic business operations for the physicians: “Forty-three offices, 43 leases, 43 phone bills. We have a whole division that consists of 15 people just ensuring that we’re doing our payrolls and paying benefits to all the 1,200 physicians and staff that work at ENT and Allergy.”
Glazer said that an important part of what his IT division does is to ensure that patient records are secure in a world where computer hacking is a constant concern. “We want to make sure that our patients can feel secure that their patient confidentiality is well protected,” he said.
The physical setup at the new location includes more than 25 offices, about 200 cubicles, a large conference room, a reception area, the call center and more.
When asked to comment about changes he’s seen in health care since he’s been at the helm of ENTA, Glazer mentioned the movement to electronic health records. “We as a practice actually embraced that more than 10 years ago,” he said.
In remarks to those attending the ribbon-cutting — including ENTA employees; representatives from New York state; William M. Mooney Jr., president and CEO of the Westchester County Association; and Bridget Gibbons, Westchester County director of economic development — Glazer pointed out that ENTA started just down the road from the new offices at 560 White Plains Road. The organization had grown to occupy 28,000 square feet at the former location.
“As we’ve expanded the number of physicians and number of clinics and, therefore, the number of patients that we’re seeing,” he told the Business Journal, “we needed to bring on professionals that handle the non-medical piece of the business better and develop systems and procedures that enable our physicians to provide a quality patient visit and quality outcomes without being distracted by the regulatory environment and business environment.”
That climate, he said, “has been somewhat hostile to health care over the years. That is why ENTA’s back office operation has expanded. We wanted to enable our physicians to really concentrate on providing quality medicine.”