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May 25, 2022

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Oregon medical group Praxis Health buys Northwest Medical Associates in east Vancouver

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:
5 Photos
Sam Sugarman, patient service representative for Northwest Medical Associates-Praxis Health, takes a call while working at the front desk on Thursday afternoon. Praxis Health, Oregon's largest independent medical group, has expanded into Vancouver after recently acquiring Northwest Medical Associates, a 35-year-old clinic in east Vancouver.
Sam Sugarman, patient service representative for Northwest Medical Associates-Praxis Health, takes a call while working at the front desk on Thursday afternoon. Praxis Health, Oregon's largest independent medical group, has expanded into Vancouver after recently acquiring Northwest Medical Associates, a 35-year-old clinic in east Vancouver. (Photos by Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Praxis Health, Oregon’s largest independent medical group, acquired a 35-year-old Vancouver clinic this month, marking the group’s first expansion into Washington.

On Jan. 3, Northwest Medical Associates in east Vancouver reopened with a new name: Northwest Medical Associates-Praxis Health.

While the acquisition marks a significant change for the clinic, much has remained the same, according to Northwest Medical Associates co-founder Dr. Alan Jones.

“When you walk in the door, you’ll see all the same faces and all the same positions, and it works pretty much as previously,” he said.

There are some differences, however. The clinic now uses Praxis Health’s labs, and certain operations, such as record keeping, have changed.

“Probably the biggest thing that affects us is that we’re now using a different electronic health care record,” Jones said. “The one that we’ve been using we’ve been using for 10 years. You get kind of used to that.”

Jones expressed excitement about the acquisition. Because the five health care providers at the clinic are in the middle or nearing the end of their careers, Jones said he and co-founder Dr. Stanley Sugarman had considered selling the practice for years.

After meeting with Praxis Health’s CEO, they decided to sell. They liked that Praxis Health is a family-run organization that emphasizes independence in each of its medical practices.

“We really like the work they do,” Jones said. “I talked to several other clinics in Oregon that went through the same thing, and they all said the same thing: These people are for real, they do a good job. That’s how we ended up joining Praxis.”

Jones and Sugarman founded Northwest Medical Associates in 1986 after finishing their internal medicine residency at Providence Medical Center in Portland. After a long night of studying in the library, Jones and Sugarman had a revelation: Instead of going to another part of the country to open a practice, why not team up and open shop right here in the Pacific Northwest?

With help from Providence Medical Center, the duo opened their first practice in Cascade Park in Vancouver. Eventually, they separated from Providence, and they landed at the Park Place Towers in east Vancouver, where the practice has been since.

The acquisition by Praxis Health is bittersweet for Jones.

“Sadly, the days of the independent practitioner and small groups are fading away because of how medicine is changing,” Jones said. “That’s the driving force for a lot of these changes that you’re seeing in health care. We just have to continue to roll with the changes and focus on providing high-quality medical care.”

Further expansion likely

Praxis Health isn’t the first medical group to hop the Columbia River. Vancouver Clinic announced in September that it would be opening a new line of medical offices in Oregon, the first of which opened in December.

According to Noel Javier, a Praxis Health spokesperson, Praxis Health will likely continue to expand into Washington.

“Praxis Health has experienced continued growth over the years and we are always looking for ways to grow and expand into new areas,” Javier said. “We are committed to honoring the values of Vancouver, Washington, by providing outstanding and compassionate care for our community.”

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