Palomar Medical Center.
Palomar Medical Center. File photo

Graybill Medical Group and Arch Health, two north San Diego County medical groups, announced Wednesday they are joining with Palomar Health to create a health network, the Palomar Health Medical Group.

The affiliation is effective Dec. 1, and is intended to expand access and improve the coordination of patient care. According to group representatives, patients will have access to a broader network of providers who will be able to collaborate on the best care plan, while being able to continue seeing their same physicians in the same offices.

“We are excited about the opportunity to bring an expanded network of high-quality providers to our community,” said Harvey Hershkowitz, Arch Health Medical Group board chairman. “This closer coordination of care will improve the health of our community.”

Established in 1948, Palomar Health provides comprehensive health care in north San Diego County through its two medical centers and more than 900 affiliated medical providers. Palomar Health is San Diego County’s only member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. Arch Health Medical Group has 90 providers and 300 employees serving nearly 80,000 patients in Poway, Rancho Penasquitos, Escondido, Ramona, and Valley Center. Graybill Medical Group offers primary care services and specialty services through more than 80 physicians and practitioners with offices in north San Diego and south Riverside Counties

The new Palomar Health Medical Group will have 20 locations throughout North San Diego County, Murrieta and Temecula, will employ 170 multi- specialty physicians and 600 support staff and serve more than 150,000 patients.

Graybill Medical Group will continue to operate its two offices in Vista and Oceanside independently outside of the Palomar Health Medical group network.

“Patients will immediately reap the benefits of having more physicians to choose from in their network and a smoother referral process to specialists,” said  Floyd Farley, Graybill Medical Group CEO. “This partnership will only improve the quality of care provided in our region.”

To reduce confusion, Palomar Health Medical Group will not show up as an option during Affordable Care Act open enrollment and patients should select either Arch Health or Graybill as their medical group. Patients will be notified of the transition in the coming weeks. Copays, deductibles and insurance premiums will not be affected by the merger although it has the potential to reduce the cost of care in the long-term.

“This expansion of primary care will enhance our ability as a health system to provide seamless, coordinated care across the continuum,” said Diane Hansen, Palomar Health president and CEO. “This positions us well to meet the challenges of healthcare delivery.”

— City News Service