NTENT was started in 1995 by a group of eight otolaryngologists and oculoplastic surgeons who joined together to support independent medical practices. Their first project was to obtain medical malpractice insurance, which today they offer to their members at a 53% discount. As they continued to grow, they started a group purchasing organization (GPO) as a separate entity to allow them to expand beyond Texas. The group today works with about 280 physicians throughout Texas and the central United States.
“NTENT was formed to protect the independent physician,” says Dr. Moore, president of NTENT. “We have been successful in doing that for almost 30 years. From contracting to major discounts on malpractice insurance, we have helped ease the administrative burden for our specialists.”
Kathie Norris, NTENT’s executive director, has spent 27 years in the medical field, and the last eight working with NTENT. “I love working with this group,” she says. “It’s so fulfilling supporting physicians and helping them to thrive in a challenging landscape.”
NTENT offers its members access to a network of other similar-sized practices that they can partner with and learn from. “We have seen a lot of physicians retiring the last few years,” Kathie says. “It can be difficult to sell an ENT practice, so we support them in transitioning out.”
One member, who retired at the end of December, asked for support connecting with other ENTs to sell off their practice and equipment. Another joined a neighboring NTENT practice for six months before retiring to help patients make a smooth transition to a new ENT.
One of Kathie’s favorite instances of networking occurred a few years ago when a long-standing NTENT physician was diagnosed with cancer. “It’s tricky in situations like that,” Kathie says, “Because sole-provider practices don’t have anyone else to rely on.”
Rather than closing the practice, NTENT members spent several months volunteering their time so the clinic could stay open a few days a month. While the practice ultimately did end up closing, the collective effort provided some much-needed income for the physician and his family in the early stages of treatment.
“I know sometimes it’s tempting to think of these local ENT’s as being in competition with each other,” Kathie says. “But they’re really not. Each of our members has their own patient base, and in many cases, they’ve got a long wait time for appointments and bigger patient list than they can handle.”
Rather than competing, Kathie’s hope is that working together can make sole-provider ENTs more resilient in the face of a challenging industry.
For more information about NTENT or any of the partners Fuel Medical Group works with, contact your regional team.