Baystate to acquire Connecticut River Internists after all four doctors retire

  • Doctors Adam Blacksin, from left, Joseph Viadero, Laurence Klein and Wayne Gavryck, who are co-owners of Connecticut River Internists in Turners Falls, plan to retire at the end of the year. The practice will remain open after it is acquired by Baystate Franklin Medical Center. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Connecticut River Internists at 8 Burnham St. in Turners Falls is being acquired by Baystate Franklin Medical Center. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Connecticut River Internists at 8 Burnham St. in Turners Falls is being acquired by Baystate Franklin Medical Center. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 8/16/2019 10:32:54 PM

TURNERS FALLS — After 31 years in practice, all four primary care doctors and co-owners of Connecticut River Internists will retire at the end of the year.

While the doctors — Drs. Joseph Viadero, Adam Blacksin, Wayne Gavryck and Laurence Klein — were unable to recruit replacements, the practice will remain open because Baystate Franklin Medical Center has agreed to acquire it as of Jan. 1.

Baystate primary care doctor Catherine Dodds said the hospital will retain Connecticut River Internists’ remaining staff and transfer two physicians and three nurse practitioners from the Greenfield hospital. She added that Baystate is “actively recruiting” doctors and hopes to hire two more providers during the first half of next year.

Viadero said the acquisition means the practice can stay open, ensuring its 8,000 patients will retain their local doctor’s office.

“The worst scenario would have been that we retired and our patients were left on their own to try to find primary care physicians,” Viadero said. “I think that Baystate has made a tremendous commitment.”

The doctors are retiring as they are aged between 64 and 68, he said, and simply desire to do so. Their simultaneous retirement marks the end of 35 years working together, he said. The doctors met working at the former Farren Memorial Hospital before setting up a practice nearby, Connecticut River Internists.

Part of the reason retirement is alluring, Viadero said, is the “onerous” nature of primary care, caused by increasing regulations and comparatively low salaries. Primary care doctors are paid less than specialists because insurance reimbursements are lower, he said.

Often, finances are also an obstacle at private primary care practices, he said. While owning an independent practice was once feasible, today private doctors’ offices “run the risk of going bankrupt” due to “the amount of staff” required to handle administration.

“It’s difficult for physicians in primary care to make a living and be able to sustain a practice,” Viadero said. “We’re going to miss our patients, but we’re not going to miss running a business.”

Recruiting doctors has proven to be a persistent problem over the years, Viadero said. He attributed hiring issues to a primary care doctor shortage in the U.S. and especially Franklin County.

“There aren’t very many new physicians in the area or physicians taking new patients,” Viadero said.

To accommodate for this provider shortage, Viadero said “the model has changed” and now nurse practitioners play a larger role in medical visits, often working in tandem with doctors to treat patients. In some cases, nurse practitioners are the sole provider in a medical visit.

“We’re seeing more nurse practitioners in the roles of physicians,” Viadero said.

Connecticut River Internists’ patients were informed about Baystate’s acquisition in letters sent out last month. Viadero said he hopes that notifying patients about the acquisition will alleviate concerns about the change. He added that fees are unlikely to shift as they are dictated by insurance.

“Obviously, there’s always some fear and apprehension with any changes,” Viadero said. “We’re reassuring our patients that they’re going to continue getting health care.”

Reach Grace Bird at
gbird@recorder.com or
413-772-0261, ext. 280.




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