Seventy-five years ago, there was much skepticism when four local physicians decided to open a multispecialty group practice in Baton Rouge. The concept was new, but Drs. Cheney Joseph, Gerald Joseph, Joe Sabatier and Mortimer Silvey believed that doctors working together could provide improved patient care and better efficiency. That belief led to the four men opening The Baton Rouge Clinic above the Pig and Whistle Restaurant on Plank Road.
The Clinic’s very first patient was of the four-legged variety, a black Labrador Retriever who had a tumor on his chest. Undeterred, the physicians gave the dog anesthesia and performed a successful operation.
Today, The Baton Rouge Clinic is the largest independent medical group practice in Louisiana, complete with the main clinic located on Perkins Road, satellite locations throughout the area, and a vast range of services that cover nearly every medical need. Approximately 800 team members make up The Baton Rouge Clinic, about 40 percent of whom have been with the Clinic for at least 10 years.
“Seventy-five years means stability, quality performance and community trust,” said CEO Ed Silvey, the son of co-founder Dr. Mortimer Silvey. “It’s a special place and a remarkable place. It’s a big family. I feel proud to have the privilege to be here every day.”
Silvey attributed the Clinic’s longevity to several factors, including a patient-centered philosophy that means they are always available to help, whether it be after hours or on weekends. Clinic patients are able to access an on-call physician in each department 24 hours a day, and for those with non-life-threatening emergencies, the Clinic also offers assistance through their Urgent Care Center. Another key tenet is community engagement, with physicians and employees encouraged to give back as much as possible.
“We think those things all go into making us successful,” he said. “The greater Baton Rouge area has been very good to the Clinic and we feel blessed to be trusted by this community.”
That trust is evident in the Clinic’s frequent surveys which show a 97% or better patient satisfaction rate, meaning the patients will come back to the Clinic for services and/or recommend it to others.
The high quality of service at The Baton Rouge Clinic has also garnered it multiple national awards. It has received recognition as one of the nation’s best performing practices of its kind from the Medical Group Management Association every year since 1997. Million Hearts, a national initiative, has recognized the Clinic for its skill at treating hypertension, while many major insurance companies have honored the Clinic for being a leader in health care quality and cost.
One of the most significant achievements was when the Clinic was invited to join the Mayo Clinic Care Network. This association means Baton Rouge Clinic patients and physicians have access to the Mayo Clinic’s extensive resources and expertise, which can result in improved care.
“We became the first independent multispecialty clinic chosen for the Network,” Silvey said. “They come in and analyze every aspect of an organization and we met their standards. We’re very proud of that. We love our association with them because we can consult with them on a moment’s notice. It’s a wonderful relationship.”
The Baton Rouge Clinic’s Founders (from left to right) Mortimer J. Silvey, MD, Joseph Sabatier, MD, Gerald Joseph, MD, & Cheney Joseph, MD.
As health care and patient needs have changed, The Baton Rouge Clinic has adapted to serve people in the best way possible. Silvey said the implementation of electronic medical records has allowed for better communication with patients and among physicians. An urgent care clinic that opened in 2010, provides immediate treatment. To respond to community demand, that location was turned into a COVID-19 Assessment center in 2020. Due to the of declining number of COVID cases, the center has since returned to its urgent care services.
Silvey said those adaptations are possible thanks to a governance structure that includes a physician led board of directors and multiple committees that are focused on various areas of the operation. These leaders work closely with other Clinic physicians and staff to continue improving care and service.
“As physicians saw changes or new trends coming, our leaders have made sure the Clinic has had the resources, education and environment to adapt,” Silvey said. “Whatever the major change has been, the organization has always thoroughly analyzed it and developed a game plan, but the one thing we always keep in mind is our value system and culture. When we look at changing things, they always keep that in mind to make sure we continue to do what people have come to expect from us.”
As The Baton Rouge Clinic looks to the future, Silvey said there could be expansions throughout the area and the state. Technology will likely become a bigger part of health care as well, but the one thing that will not change is the Clinic’s dedication to its patients and its core values of clinical excellence, compassion, integrity, fairness and community service.
“We want to continue to be one of the most cost-effective, high-quality group of physicians there is without changing our ownership or our culture,” Silvey said. “We are about treating one patient at a time and that is not going to change. We only want to improve on what has made us successful.”
To read more Baton Rouge Clinic Anniversary Stories by The Advocate, please click here.