Trinity Clinic Celebrates 20 Years Serving East Texas - CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System

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Published on November 06, 2014

Trinity Clinic Celebrates 20 Years Serving East Texas

TYLER, TX – Trinity Clinic will celebrate 20 years of serving the medical needs of East Texas with a dinner honoring physicians, providers and administrators at Hollytree Country Club on Nov. 6, at 6:30pm. The event will also feature the presentation of the annual Service Excellence Awards for physicans. These awards recognize providers, nominated by their peers, who have distinguished themselves over the course of the year in one of seven categories: Clinical Quality, Patient Safety, Education/Research, Innovation, Leadership, Service/Mission and Customer Service.

Twenty years ago, Tyler’s medical community consisted of a number of small physician practices, each of which worked independently to provide care to the residents of Smith County. With the onset of the national healthcare movement, three physician groups – Cardiovascular Consultants, Tyler Gastroenterology and Tyler Medical Surgical Clinic – representing 35 physicians, had the foresight to join forces and form one entity. Today, Trinity Clinic is the area's preferred multispecialty medical group, with over 350 physicians and advanced practice providers representing 40 specialties in 36 clinic locations serving East Texas.

“We realized that together, our specialties could provide better, coordinated care for our patients,” says Steven Keuer, MD, internist, President and Chief Medical Officer of Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics, and founding member of Trinity Clinic. “The three groups came together mainly to develop economies of scale, and to perhaps lower the cost of care, preparing us and our patients for the new environment we saw coming ahead.”

One year later, Trinity Clinic merged with Mother Frances Hospital to create Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics.

“Aligning with a great hospital really upped the ante in the community in terms of physicians and hospitals coming together to create a patient experience that was both high in quality and also strong in terms of service,” says Chris Glenney, Chief Administrative Officer and Senior Vice President of Trinity Clinic.

Dr. Keuer says the partnership grew out of a continued desire to better meet the needs of the patients. “By working together, we were able to coordinate our care, share technology and avoid duplicated services,” he says. “It was a natural fit to partner with Mother Frances because we shared a similar vision to provide high quality care and to advance patient safety.”

In its two decades, Trinity Clinic has realized a number of “firsts,” including the first hospitalists, infectious disease specialists and the first group of intensivists focused solely on critical care. Other significant achievements:

Electronic medical records

While most clinics and systems are just introducing electronic medical records (EMR), Trinity Clinic was an early adopter of the technology, having used EMRs for nearly a decade now. The Clinic recently upgraded to the EPIC system, the world leader in EMR. “Integrating the clinic and hospital medical records electronically allows our physicians to see and care for the entirety of the patient,” says Glenney. “If you are a patient at Trinity Clinic and you have to go to the emergency department, your primary care physician is able to see all of the care that is being provided to you through your medical records, to help better coordinate it. The EMR has been an amazing advancement for Trinity Clinic.”

Growth and recruitment

Going from 35 physicians to 350 care providers in just two decades, including physicians and advanced practice providers, is an amazing accomplishment. “We would never have been able to recruit as many providers if we had remained separate practices,” says Dr. Keuer. “With our vision of high quality and compassionate care, as well as coordinated care with a hospital, we’ve been able to recruit specialists from some of the best institutions in the country.”

The ability to successfully attract physicians has also helped increase the number of specialties four-fold. Glenney attributes this to the clinic’s vision for excellence. “Trinity Clinic had a desire to be nationally prominent in quality, and in striving for that prominence, they added specialties that would better serve the community,” he says.

Most recently, Trinity Clinic and Mother Frances Hospital opened the Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital, as well as a Heart Valve Clinic and Lung Nodule Clinic. “Our physicians there are doing amazing things,” says Glenney. “It’s just another example of the continued growth at Trinity Clinic. That’s a great benefit to the patients in our community."


Physicians at Trinity Clinic are able to connect directly with patients electronically through MyChart, which offers personalized and secure online access to portions of their medical records. With MyChart, patients can securely use the Internet to help manage and receive information about their health.

With MyChart, patients can make appointments online or print a child’s immunization record, rather than having to call the office. They can also communicate directly with the physician via secure email, and that communication will remain in MyChart.

“Patients are going to be much more engaged in their healthcare in the future by being able to access their medical records,” says Dr. Keuer. “It will be a good thing, as patients will be able to take a more active part in their health care.

Trinity Clinic as medical home

Over the last few years, Trinity Clinic has worked to become certified as a primary care medical home for all its care sites. A primary care medical home is a patient-centered, coordinated approach to providing health care. It facilitates partnerships between individual patients and their primary care physicians, and when appropriate, the patient’s family. With an increased emphasis on prevention and chronic illness management, this approach ensures that patient care is comprehensive, high quality and cost-effective.

“Trinity Clinic has always had a strong primary care group,” says Dr. Keuer. “As a primary care medical home, our patients receive care that’s better coordinated, evidence-based and delivered based on protocols and best practices. It’s a better way to receive care, and utilizes a team approach to care.”

What’s next for Trinity Clinic?

While Trinity Clinic has always focused on quality and faith-based care, the Clinic is poised for continued growth and excellence with an eye toward the future. Dr. Keuer foresees expansion of specialty services to outlying areas, so patients don’t have to drive to Tyler to receive this care. Telemedicine will allow patients in outlying areas access to consult with specialists at neighboring facilities, to determine if an in-person appointment is needed or to treat the condition and thereby eliminate the need for the appointment altogether. A greater emphasis on population health – keeping patients healthy to help reduce the burden of chronic illness – is also to be expected. “As physicians, we’re much more concerned about a relationship with our population,” says Dr. Keuer. “We have to try to convince patients to seek care for prevention’s sake. Passively waiting for a patient to call is a thing of the past. That’s where the industry is headed, and that’s where Trinity Clinic is headed.”

Adds Glenney: “Trinity Clinic has a long history of having well-respected, highly trained providers delivering quality, compassionate care,” he says. “That culture has led to the success of the clinic for 20 years and will continue to lead us in the future.”