Multistate dermatology practice affiliates with Rush University Medical Center

Close-up of handshake between person in suit and person in business shirt.
A dermatology practice and an academic medical center announce an affiliation. (Getty Images/FS-Stock)

A growing dermatology practice has signed an affiliation agreement with Rush University Medical Center to collaborate on care in the Chicago area and in northwest Illinois.

Pinnacle Dermatology, a multistate practice, announced the agreement which creates a clinical and academic affiliation between the two healthcare organizations.

The agreement also gives the Chicago academic medical center a small minority stake in the rapidly growing dermatology practice, according to the announcement. The agreement differs from other mergers and acquisitions in which hospitals and healthcare systems have outright acquired medical practices.

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The exclusive affiliation means Pinnacle patients with advanced skin diseases, especially certain skin cancers, will be referred to Rush doctors and have expedited access to consults with Rush oncology, otolaryngology, and restorative plastic surgery specialists. Patients will also be able to participate in clinical trials at Rush. Pinnacle doctors who wish to pursue teaching and research opportunities will be eligible for faculty appointments at Rush University, the organizations said.

Pinnacle Dermatology, which is based in Lombard, Illinois, has 35 clinic sites in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Minnesota and more than 60 providers. The affiliation covers the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana. Financial terms of the affiliation are being kept confidential.

Pinnacle, which got a private equity investment of an undisclosed amount in 2017 from Chicago Pacific Founders and has announced five practice acquisitions so far this year, continues to expand and is looking to enter one or two more states in the coming months, the practice said.

“This model affiliation of independent community and academic clinicians offers Chicago-area patients greater access to care and the combined clinical expertise of Pinnacle Dermatology and Rush,” said Paula Lapinski, M.D., chief medical officer and co-founder of Pinnacle Dermatology.

Patients who require advanced care at Rush will have the option to schedule follow-up care closer to home at one of 18 Pinnacle clinics, including 15 in Illinois and three in northwest Indiana.

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“Our goals with the affiliation are to improve the accessibility, quality, coordination and cost-efficiency of care for dermatology patients across the region,” said Omar Lateef, D.O., CEO of Rush University Medical Center, part of Rush University System for Health (RUSH).

Under the agreement, Pinnacle Dermatology will market dermatology services in the Chicago area in affiliation with Rush. “Affiliating with Rush, a leading academic health system known for delivering excellent patient outcomes and experience, is an important step in our growth and evolution as a company,” said Chad Eckes, CEO of Pinnacle.

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