you're reading...

Cornelius News

Ex-Holston doctors regrouping


April 14. UPDATED 9:30 am April 15. By Dave Yochum. It’s looking more and more like the doctors that left the Holston Medical Group last week will be making a comeback before too long with a new corporate parent and locations to be announced.

Dr. David Cook, one of the leaders of roughly three dozen doctors who left Holston Medical, said he wants patients to know they are not going anywhere.

OH Leadership formed

Corporate records show that Cook and Dr. Ehab Sharawy have formed OH Leadership, a new corporation in Statesville.

Still unknown is whether the relationship between OH Leadership—presumably so-named for One Health or something similar—and Holston is in any way salvagable enough for Cook and Sharawy to take over any of the 10 now-closed offices.

Should they open new offices, leasing and upfitting them in short order will be a monumental undertaking.

NEW: Asked if Holston would sublease any of its former offices to OH Leadership, a Holston spokesperson said: “That is not something we know at this time, nor want to speculate about.”

Without stating when it will happen, Cook said they “are definitely coming back and will care for this community and the individuals in this community as we have for 28 years.”

He said the doctors—actually 35 of them—had planned for a smooth transition out of Holston and into OH Leadership.

“However, due to factors out of our control an abrupt transition has occurred,” Cook said.

It’s an understatement, considering what happened at Holston Medical last week in the midst of a once-in-a-century epidemic.

On Good Friday, Holston Medical Group closed 10 out of 13 offices in Lake Norman and North Charlotte, and “dismissed” a total of 35 physicians who were planning to join OH Leadership. The day after, on Saturday, employees were seen removing personal items from a closed Holston office, a sign of the sudden nature of the decision to close shop.

Holston said the COVID-19 epidemic and a resulting drop in business were part of the reason to close up. They will remain in the market with three offices, down from 13.

The relationship between the doctors who left Novant a year ago to join Holston fell apart in less than a year. At the time they said Holston’s patient-centered values were more in line with theirs.

But OH Leadership was incorporated in December of last year, suggesting the honeymoon was over in less than nine months.

The three dozen physicians, led by Cook and Sharawy, had planned to form an independent group, with at least some consultation with Holston. It would have happened this fall, but negotiations fell apart in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 has affected revenue

Sources say business at medical practices is down 40 percent or more as the epidemic takes a staggering toll on people and the economy.

Holston confirmed that the doctors were scheduled to transition out of their practice in September. Instead, citing the COVID-19 situation, Holston dismissed the doctors and patients were left out in the cold.

At 5 pm Good Friday Holston told employees by email that the Tennessee-based medical practice had “made the difficult decision to close many of its offices in the Lake Norman area of North Carolina.”

Health providers stepping up

Atrium Health, Davidson Family Medicine and Mooresville-based Piedmont HealthCare, have said they would accept patients whose doctors have left Holston. These are in addition to Lakeside Family Practice and Huntersville OB/GYN, both of which are owned by Novant.