March 10, 1997

Media Contacts: Sarah Goodwin, 404/727-3366 -
Kathi Ovnic, 404/727-9371 -

The Emory University System of Health Care has formed a joint affiliation for managed care contracting with The Premier HealthCare Network, Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), a rapidly growing 200 member multispecialty/primary care independent physician association.

The Premier HealthCare Network was established in 1993 by James M. Poindexter, MD, FACS, of Georgia Vascular Surgery, who now serves as Premier's CEO and Medical Director. Beginning with five founding members, Premier formed a surgery panel and secured two major contracts in 1994. In 1996, the group began working toward vertical integration. Premier now includes primary care, medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and surgery. Today it covers 16 metropolitan Atlanta counties and is responsible for 375,000 covered lives, not counting those in the Emory University System of Health Care's 116 existing managed care contracts.

"This new affiliation with such a strong community group is an important step in Emory's plan to bring together the best networks around the city for managed care contracting, says Michael Bernardino, MD, MBA, Director of Managed Care, Emory University System of Health Care. He lists three reasons:

  • First, The Premier HealthCare Network brings a sizable number of primary care and specialty physicians to the table. In addition to its 200 members, another 200 are in the credentialing process.

  • Second, the affiliation further strengthens the Emory-organized managed care network's representation in northern and eastern Atlanta and the surrounding area. Although The Premier HealthCare Network operates in 16 counties, for the Emory agreement, Premier will provide primary care physicians only in DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett and the surrounding counties of Barrow, Forsyth, Newton, Rockdale and Walton. An agreement signed last October with the 100-member Crawford Long Community Physicians, LLC, and more than 200 members of Excel-Care has allowed to Emory to better interact with the northwest Atlanta community, particularly in Cobb, Douglas and Cherokee Counties where Excel-Care is located. Emory-Adventist Hospital, partially owned by Emory, also supports patient care in this area.

  • Third, The Premier HealthCare Network's vertically integrated network of primary care, medicine, obstetrics-gynecology, and surgery further strengthens the combined network's ability to provide comprehensive care. Premier HealthCare will be responsible for managing primary care in the counties mentioned above and for certain horizontal subspecialty networks in all counties in the new combined Emory-organized managed care network.

Michael M. E. Johns, MD, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs at Emory University and Chief Executive Officer of the Emory University System of Health Care, says "We are very pleased that The Premier HealthCare Network will be joining forces with us for managed care contracting. This is an excellent, well-managed group of physicians. We look forward to working with them, and we believe Georgians, especially in the northeastern part of metropolitan Atlanta, will be the beneficiaries of our collective expertise and expanded geographic scope."

Rein Saral, MD, Director and Chief Executive Officer, The Emory Clinic, says "This new agreement between the Emory University System of Health Care and Premier continues Emory's momentum as a physician-oriented, community-oriented organization and is evidence of our interest and ability to attract the area's leading physicians and hospitals to join with us in serving an increasingly broadening geographic area."

"We are very pleased to be selected by the Emory University System of Health Care as a community network affiliate for managed care contracting," comments James M. Poindexter, MD, FACS, Premier's CEO and Medical Director. "Premier has grown significantly over the past year and we will have 32 panels of physicians by the end of this year. Affiliating with Emory, a major player in the Atlanta healthcare market, is certainly another significant hallmark in our growth."

For more general information on The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, call Health Sciences News and Information at 404-727-5686, or send e-mail to

Copyright ©Emory University, 1997. All Rights Reserved.
Send comments to