North Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Associates, PA

February 2017 - Vol. 36, No. 01

206 physicians serve patients across the state of Texas

“What makes NTENT unique is that it is both a physicians’ group and a professional association, which was created under Texas statute.1 I am not aware of any other state having something like what we have created here in Texas,” said Dwight A. Lee, MD, the current statewide medical director and chair of the NTENT Medical Directors’ Committee.

North Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Associates (NTENT) was established in 1995 with a shared vision by eight otolaryngologists who joined together in response to changing market forces in Dallas, TX. Dr. Lee, together with co-founder John Moore, MD, grew NTENT to almost 100 members by 2013. Initially, all the member physicians were geographically located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

profile-nt-ent_mapIn the spring of 2014, NTENT leadership looked to further support its members in navigating the current and future healthcare landscape by expanding both geographic area and specialty coverage. NTENT now includes a statewide executive committee and five separate divisions—southeast, central, western, north, and the specialty of oculoplastics—with each division having its own board and medical director. NTENT has a current membership of 206 physicians and serves an estimated population of about  17 million patients, with many of those patients coming from four areas in the state: Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and  San Antonio.

“Even though we have expanded in number and in scope, our goal has always been the same—bringing together the highest quality physicians for the best patient outcomes. This is what drives NTENT,” said Dr. Lee.

Dwight A. Lee, MD

Dwight A. Lee, MD

“Last August, the SullivanLuallin Group performed NTENT’s patient satisfaction survey, with over 4,700 patients statewide participating. The survey results confirm that NTENT is scoring higher in all six standard categories than the national average for otolaryngologists,” Dr. Lee said. “This reflects our ongoing commitment to patient satisfaction and care, to monitoring our performance, and to continually improving the delivery of healthcare. That focus is the core of our vision and mission.

“In addition to a focus on quality care, we have helped our members save money through group purchasing of malpractice insurance and hearing aids. We are striving to expand these offerings with our increased purchasing power while seeking more ways to create and provide value to our membership base,” explained Dr. Lee.

“Some of the other benefits offered to members of NTENT include direct contracting with all large carriers, optimized reimbursement, credentialing, claim support, access to designated carrier representatives, physician incentive opportunities, current legislative updates, and analytical reporting.”

NTENT is currently implementing its 2014-2018 business plan, which includes the creation of a database depository, another significant offering to their members. “Prior to the Academy’s 2015 Annual Meeting, we experienced a problem with the development of our database, and the progress on our  business plan was slowed,” said Dr. Lee.  “At the annual Academy meeting in Dallas, I was introduced to Reg-entSM. Reg-ent came along at absolutely the best possible time because it provided a solution to jump-start our data acquisition. Since then, the NTENT Board approved a switch to Reg-ent, and we have been working closely with Academy staff to ensure we are well on our way to reach most of our goals by 2018.”

Dr. Lee has been a Member of the Academy since 1982 and has been involved in several leadership roles throughout the years, including the Board of Governors and its Executive Committee and The Health Policy Commission. “Being connected to the Academy has been a great experience, not only on a personal level but also at a national and professional level. I have great faith in the people and the work of the Academy to support our specialty. The Academy provides so much related to practice management that there is no other way to put it than to say the Academy is the glue that holds otolaryngologists together.”