Dermatology practice joins regional group
A local skin care practice has joined a dermatology group with offices across the Midwest to find “strength in numbers,” due partly to Obamacare.
Forefront Dermatology, a partner of Manitowoc, Wis.-based Dermatology Associates of Wisconsin, said last month that it has expanded its West Michigan presence with the addition of a second office in Grand Rapids, at 1000 E. Paris SE, as Dr. David Hammond merged his Grand Rapids Dermatology practice with the regional group.
Dr. Hammond has served patients in the Grand Rapids community for more than 30 years with comprehensive skin care services: skin cancer and melanoma, pediatric skin problems, pigmentation problems, sun damage, hair loss, acne, eczema, skin infections and rashes.
As a solo practitioner, Hammond said with changes in the medical field in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, it made sense for him to join the Forefront Dermatology group.
“With all the governmental changes with billing, coding, penalties and regulations, I came to the conclusion that my practice model was not going to work real well longer term,” Hammond said. “It had served me well for many years, but it was time to change the model.”
Hammond added that there were several other reasons for the merger: issues with call coverage as the number of solo practices decline; negotiating insurance billings; incorporating electronic medical records; balancing multiple roles with human resources, business management and clinical patient care as a solo practice; and recognizing Forefront’s shared goals for treating patients.
“Like many things in our culture today, having strength in numbers in terms of being able to negotiate insurance billings and also economy of scale in terms of purchasing both business and clinical supplies, it made more sense to me that this was the direction that I really should go,” Hammond said. “Plus, it is getting more difficult as a solo doctor to wear three different hats: the practice hat of seeing patients, the business management part and then human resources and overseeing employees.”
Aspiring to retain the patient-care hat, Hammond said merging with Forefront will allow him to focus exclusively on treating patients and researching cases, while the group can handle human resources and insurance billing.
“I think the thing that impressed me the most with Forefront was that it is a very progressive, well-organized company,” Hammond said. “I have already gotten to know some of the doctors in the group over in Wisconsin and just being able to share cases, get input about other treatment options for patients, for me, that is very valuable.”
Hammond performed his dermatology fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
He’s a clinical instructor at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine and an American Board of Dermatology certified physician.
Hammond is also a member of various organizations: the American Academy of Dermatology, Michigan State Medical Society, Skin Cancer Foundation, Michigan Dermatological Society and Mayo Clinic Alumni Association.
With two offices in Marquette and another Grand Rapids office on Cascade Road, Forefront now has four offices in the state.