CoxHealth buys large Missouri neurosurgery group

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — CoxHealth of Springfield, which has been considering building a new neuroscience institute, has announced plans to buy the largest private practice neurosurgery group in Missouri.

The health care system would not say how much it will pay for the Springfield Neurological and Spine Institute. When the agreement takes effect Jan. 1, the institute’s 80 employees will work for CoxHealth.

Robert Bezanson, president and CEO of CoxHealth, told the Springfield News-Leader that no timetable has been set for building a neuroscience center, but that CoxHealth wants to build nationally-known facility.

“The ultimate goal is to create a neuroscience center that will have a national reputation,” Bezanson said.

Bezanson said research has shown that integrated systems, such as those in which the hospital owns the clinic, help eliminate redundancies and coordinate care.

The institute that Cox has announced plans to buy was founded in 2001 and has 12 doctors, nine of whom are neurosurgeons. The doctors treat brain, spinal and nerve disorders such as brain tumors and herniated discs. The group has been closely allied with CoxHealth since November 2003.

Its patients come from the Springfield area and from adjoining states including Kansas and Arkansas. The group is involved in clinical trials on head trauma and spinal devices.

Dr. Mark Crabtree, neurosurgeon and managing partner of the institute, said the partnership “will better prepare us to meet the future needs of the patients and communities that we serve.”

Bezanson said signs for the institute are being changed to show the CoxHealth logo. The deal is expected to close Dec. 31.

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Information from: The Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com

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