Gonzaba Medical Group: A Pioneer In Patient-Centered Medical Care

March 25, 2019

Claire considers the day she selected a primary care doctor at Gonzaba Medical Group as one of the most important days of her life.

She had been suffering from recurring sinus infections for years and her former doctor would breeze through her appointment in less than five minutes, write her a prescription for antibiotics, and send her on her way.

“My old doctor was just treating the symptoms, not the cause,” says Claire. “On my first visit to my Gonzaba doctor, she spent 45 minutes with me going over my medical history and my life and found out the sinus infections were related to a completely different problem. She created a treatment plan for that, which included managing my diabetic symptoms too. Everything changed for the better after I chose a Gonzaba doctor as my primary care physician.”

Claire’s story reflects national research that shows patients who establish meaningful and long-term relationships with primary care physicians have better healthcare outcomes and lower costs than those patients who don’t. One study by the University of Massachusetts shows strong bonds between doctor and patient improves disease outcomes, adherence to treatment programs, patient satisfaction, and most importantly, create trust that can have a powerful positive impact on a patient’s health.

“The importance of the doctor and patient relationship is something I instinctively knew from the day I opened my first one-room office on South Flores Street nearly 60 years ago,” says Dr. Bill Gonzaba, founder and CEO of Gonzaba Medical Group. “I believed healthcare was heading in the wrong direction and I made it my purpose to bring to create an innovative, patient-centered model to improve primary care in South Texas.”

Dr. Brad Beauvais, professor of healthcare administration at Trinity University, says the model that Dr. Bill created was visionary and has had a transformational impact on medical delivery models in San Antonio and the surrounding area.

“Too many medical models today are focused on how many procedures and visits they can achieve as a means of driving business revenue,” Beauvais says. “Dr. Bill decided to break that model and focus on building a practice and a business that focuses on how to keep people healthy. We have come to describe that in healthcare today as value-based care. Dr. Bill pioneered that model decades ago right here in San Antonio. From primary care to the foot clinic to home health to the Gonzaba Farmer’s market with the San Antonio Food Bank and more, Dr. Bill is demonstrating how value-based care should work.”

In fact, the Gonzaba Medical Group has earned a national reputation for delivering quality healthcare where the patient is at the center of a collaborative team of primary care physicians and specialists that coordinate a comprehensive plan to keep the patient healthy.

The concept has become known as the “patient-centered medical home” – PCMH – where doctors take the time to really get to know the patient and ensure that they get the right care in the right setting by the most appropriate provider and in a manner consistent with the patient’s desires and values.

“Medical homes focus on patients even when they’re not present at the office,” says Patricia Barrett, vice president of product delivery and PCMH for the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). “The team takes a proactive approach to health rather than waiting for patients to show up at the practice when they’re sick.”

In a patient-centered primary care physician practice, there is a higher investment in health information technology and collaboration to ensure physicians and staff consistently deliver coordinated care where outcomes are measured with transparency. The Gonzaba Medical Group meets the highest national standards of the NCQA to be formally recognized as a Patient Centered Medical Home.

But the real Gonzaba difference is rooted in Dr. Bill’s vision that “everyone deserves a medical home where they are como familia – like family – and get the highest quality care at the lowest cost.” These services should be easily accessible, accountable, integrated, and effective. In cases where the patient must seek care outside the Gonzaba practice – such as a hospital stay – the Gonzaba primary care physician still manages patient care through the use of its hospitalist program.

“When a patient chooses a doctor, it is the ultimate act of trust,” Dr. Bill says. “Our physicians and staff honor that trust and we work hard, with integrity, every day, to earn it and keep it.”

In addition to being measured for efficiency and effectiveness, personalized medicine is a core value at Gonzaba Medical Group.

“Our physicians spend more time with each patient so that we get to know them personally, which helps us create prevention and treatment plans tailored to each individual,” says Dr. Tom Gonzaba, Medical Director and physician son of Dr Bill. “We are also evidence-based and data-driven, meaning that we measure and monitor everything we do to continuously improve our patient care.”

The Gonzaba Medical Group is one of the only primary care practices in South Texas that has a call center staffed by nearly 70 employees, including nurses that are dedicated to Gonzaba’s senior patient population.

In addition to this focus on value-based care, Gonzaba Medical Group has continually improved access to care over the years. From its original one-room clinic on South Flores Street, the medical group has grown into a network of comprehensive care centers, focusing especially on easy access to care for seniors in the community.

Particular attention has been paid to these types of medical centers where patients are able to get access to primary plus additional services under one roof. This includes urgent care centers, specialty care, such as endocrinology (diabetic care), podiatry, rheumatology, to name a few. Furthermore, these centers offer physical therapy, advanced imaging services, and laboratory services.

In addition to its newest 30,000-square-foot Northwest Medical Center, Gonzaba Medical Group currently has two other comprehensive medical centers – the Main Medical Center on Pleasanton Road serving South San Antonio, and the Woodlawn Medical Center serving surrounding West-Side neighborhoods.

Gonzaba’s three urgent care centers throughout the city are the only San Antonio-based provider to achieve accreditation and The Gold Seal from The Joint Commission. – A hallmark of quality.

The group has four additional primary care clinic locations throughout the city:

  • Southeast on the city’s southside near Fair Avenue and New Braunfels;
  • North Central on Blanco Road inside the I-410 loop;
  • Guadalupe near the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center;
  • Downtown, next to Metropolitan Methodist Hospital.

“Primary care professionals serve on the front lines of healthcare,” Dr Varshi Broumand of South Texas Renal Care Group notes. “For many, they are the first point of contact with the healthcare system. That means they are often the first to see depression, chronic diseases, and other health concerns. They ensure patients get the right care, in the right setting, and at the right time, in a manner consistent with the patient’s desired healthcare outcomes.”

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