By Elizabeth Parker
As they approached 68 years in the Peoria community, the surgeons with Peoria Surgical Group were looking to the future and asking themselves, What’s next?
Worried about their patients’ diminishing options in the general health care landscape and knowing the key to quality patient care started with quality physicians, Peoria Surgical Group affiliated with Springfield Clinic and became Springfield Clinic Peoria officially on Aug. 1 this past year.
Springfield Clinic, based in Springfield and serving over forty communities in central Illinois, seemed like the perfect fit to Steven Tsoraides, MD, FACS, FASCRS, a colon and rectal surgeon with Peoria Surgical Group. “Springfield Clinic is part of the fabric of central Illinois and understands our patient population,” he says. “We did have other options, but we knew we were not interested in bringing Chicago to central Illinois. There’s a huge advantage to having an organization from our own soil who understands the priorities of our communities and our patients.”
Dr. Tsoraides has been practicing in the Peoria area since he started as a resident physician at the University of Illinois College of Medicine almost 15 years ago and values serving the community he calls home. His primary concern when considering joining a larger health care organization was twofold: preserve the high-quality care patients receive from him and his colleagues and create a practice where young, high-caliber physicians would thrive.
Dr. Tsoraides has known for years what Peoria as a place to live and grow has to offer and knew Springfield Clinic could be the key to maintaining a strong medical community for Peoria’s future. To him, an affiliation with Springfield Clinic represented more than just a new logo on his white coat: It was a pathway to a sustainable future for his beloved community and the medical practitioners within.
Why Choices in Health Care Matter
You wouldn’t want to be told to eat at the same restaurant, every day, for every meal, for your whole life—you have dining choices, and a way to vet them before stepping foot in the door.
This was something Dr. Tsoraides and his colleagues thought long and hard about when deciding how and with whom to affiliate. The surgeons with now-Springfield Clinic Peoria wanted to be confident that a partner organization would allow them to retain collaborative relationships with other health care organizations, so they could keep care and referral options open for their patients.
Springfield Clinic Peoria general surgeon Thomas Rossi, MD, wholeheartedly believes a wide variety of health care options should be a priority in the Peoria medical community. “If you don’t have a choice,” he says, “you really don’t know what the best situation is for your outcomes. You should be able to choose.”
For Dr. Tsoraides, it’s vital to find the doctor who is not only the best person to treat your ailment, but is also someone you want to build a relationship with. To him, the most critical component of health care is still the doctor-patient relationship, no matter the practice style or new technology. And the foundation of that relationship is choice. You’d be more likely to go back to a restaurant that you picked freely and liked—the same is probably true for your physician.
Dr. Tsoraides concludes simply that, “Patients need that choice, and they deserve that freedom; patients deserve the freedom to decide how health care is going to play out.”
Looking to the Future
The former Peoria Surgical Group and Springfield Clinic found in each other more than just agreement on how health care should be delivered—high-quality, patient-centered care—they also found they shared common goals for the future of the Peoria community to expand the accessibility of primary and specialty doctors.
“This partnership with Peoria Surgical Group has opened the door to conversations with even more physicians who want the same ability to provide quality care and a lasting partnership that will give them the freedom to do that,” says Springfield Clinic’s Cal Thomas, the vice president of business development and marketing.
Bringing in high-quality doctors and creating an environment that they will want to stay and grow in is critical to Dr. Rossi, who is, at this point in his career, enjoying the mentorship role that comes with 38 years of doctoring experience. “I want to make sure we don’t drop the ball in how we take care of our patients and who we recruit to take care of our patients,” he says, “to make sure they receive that same passion for patient care Springfield Clinic delivers.”
But for Dr. Tsoraides, while expanding the services Springfield Clinic Peoria offers is a priority, it’s not his only goal. He envisions a future for Peoria’s medical community as a whole that continues to strengthen and grow in medical education and innovation. To him, patients in Peoria deserve to have access to world-class health care without ever having to leave the area.
“Although we’re a large and growing physician-owned organization,” says Cal Thomas, “we take pride in having that small-town feel, and one of the most valuable things that Springfield Clinic will bring is consistency across health care needs and the services in the community.”
“Just the Coat”
You may not have even noticed that Peoria Surgical Group and Springfield Clinic had affiliated to become Springfield Clinic Peoria in the area. That’s okay—that was their goal.
“The best part of the affiliation was that the patients don’t notice much difference in terms of their care,” says Dr. Tsoraides, “because Springfield Clinic didn’t change the way we treat patients. So they haven’t been disturbed by it. It’s been seamless.”
Dr. Rossi looks to the future as Springfield Clinic Peoria and sees stability. Springfield Clinic has been providing care to the patients in central Illinois for over 80 years, and the plan is to be able to say the same in Peoria someday too.
“When patients see the logo on my new coat and ask me what it means,” says Dr. Rossi. “I tell them, ‘Truthfully, it’s just the coat.’ It says Springfield Clinic because we’ve expanded our reach in the area and nothing else. We did it to preserve good patient outcomes now and into the future. You can still see us and get the best care we have always given.”
“Springfield Clinic is going to offer our patients the highest quality physicians that we have access to in this community,” agrees Dr. Tsoraides. “And giving them the choice of those physicians is instrumental in making sure they get the care they expect and deserve.”
Springfield Clinic is caring for the Peoria community in Peoria. And it will continue to strive for the highest standard of patient care through bringing on top-notch physicians and focusing on putting patients first.
As Dr. Rossi says: Don’t worry about the name. It’s just the coat.
Meet the Springfield Clinic Physicians in Peoria at Springfield Clinic Physicians in Peoria at www.springfieldclinic.com/meet-sc-peoria