Cross Timbers Orthopaedics in Stephenville, Texas is serving up high-tech, high-touch care to a population of more than 18,000 in this town some 60 miles southwest of Fort Worth. Their largely rural population swells by around 10,000 young adults, including many highly active athletes, when Tarleton State University (part of the Texas A&M system) is in session. Founded in the late 1990s by Orthopaedic surgeon William Evans, MD, the practice has long offered in-house digital x-ray and excellent service for patients close to home. Five years ago, the facility added its first MR scanner and by autumn of this year, it will expand into CT, ultrasound and digital radiography/fluoroscopy capabilities.
What’s impelling the imaging-equipment acquisition spree is a plan, already partially executed, to expand the practice’s in-house radiology operation into Cross Timbers Imaging, led by radiologist Nanette Evans, MD, Bill’s wife.
Grow a spinoff imaging business to better serve an entire community
Where Dr Evans, the radiologist, once read studies only for patients being treated at Cross Timbers Orthopaedics, she is now bringing expanded radiology services to patients and referrers from multiple specialities and from a catchment radius of up to 50 miles from Stephenville. The group also has brought on new contracts that have expanded the need for reads as well as effective communication of reports and images with referring physicians.
This scenario is a very good thing for patients and referrers, as the nearest other options for general imaging are a community hospital with relatively high prices and urban medical centers in Fort Worth—a long drive for considerable swaths of the population in central Texas. In fact, the primary motivator for growing the business is “just to bring good imaging to our community at an affordable cost,” explains Cheryl Hatton, RT(R), practice manager and imaging technologist. “My 70-year-old mother would have to drive an hour to get an MRI because it’s so much cheaper than going to the hospital in our own community. At Cross Timbers, we’re looking to provide good quality imaging, and offer good prices and service, so people can stay here more locally.”
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