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Group Health brings innovation
to health care in Cincinnati

The year was 1973, and the health care climate in Cincinnati was relatively stagnant, except for the radical vision of one man.

Paul Young, the vice president of planning for Hospital Care Corporation, now known as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, had a dream to provide prepaid health care to area residents.

Sister Grace Marie Hiltz of Good Samaritan Hospital liked the idea. Good Samaritan and Hospital Care Corporation (HCC) loaned $1 million each to put the idea in motion; the loans were later repaid.

Dr. John McSweeney was contracted by the hospital to be the new group’s medical director. He recruited three physicians from other practices:

  • Dr. Leo Smyth, internist
  • Dr. Joseph Speier, family practitioner
  • Dr. Marvin McClellan, pediatrician

The group, with Dr. McSweeney as president, called themselves Health Maintenance Physicians (HMP), and set up shop in the third floor of the building at 2915 Clifton Ave. On April 1, 1974, the physicians began providing care for members of Health Maintenance Plan (also known as HMP), the new managed care plan offered by HCC.

As managed care began to evolve, Health Maintenance Physicians became the foundation of managed care for Community Mutual Insurance Company (CMIC), a Blue Cross and Blue Shield company, later to become Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

In 1980, as the group continued to expand, the name was changed to Group Health, distinguishing the health care group from the health insurance plan. Until 1987, Group Health was the only provider group for HMP. To gain additional independence from Community Mutual, Group Health began accepting other insurance plans in the late 1980s.

After expanding to Springdale in 1978, Group Health opened offices in Kenwood and Anderson in 1985. In 1988, a Western Hills center opened. In 1996, Group Health established a Mason office, followed by a Finneytown center the next year. In 2010, Group Health moved and expanded its Mason office, moving into the Mason Community Center and joining the City of Mason and TriHealth to create a Partnership in Wellness. Group Health also expanded its presence in Western Hills by opening a center for specialties in the Good Samaritan Medical Center-Western Ridge.

The interest in using technology to manage more efficiently began in 1992 when Group Health implemented computerized scheduling and billing. In 2000, Springdale was the first center to go live on EpicCare, the premier state-of-the art electronic medical records system. In 2009, the Springdale office again explored new territory as a participant in the Patient-Centered Medical Home model project, which was designed to revolutionize family medicine and internal medicine practices. In 2010, Group Health put electronic medical records in the hands of patients through MyChart, an Internet-based tool.

Today, Group Health takes care of Greater Cincinnati with 130+ doctors in 18 specialties and primary care at eight offices. And they continue to grow, with plans to break ground in December 2010 for a new Clifton center.

The path to growth and success


Group Health opens April 1, 1974, in Clifton as HMP (Health Maintenance Physicians). By the end of 1974, 11,000 members join the area’s first prepaid health care plan.

Sister Grace Marie Hiltz SC, president of Good Samaritan Hospital, 1962-1979, played a key role in the formation of Group Health.


The original Springdale office opens with four family practitioners and a pediatrician.


HMP becomes Cincinnati Group Health Inc.

Group Health has 25 physicians and 31,000 patients.


Kenwood and Anderson centers open.


Western Hills center opens.


Springdale moves into current building.


Group Health launches IDX to computerize scheduling and billing.

New logo is introduced.


Group Health has 70+ physicians and 550 team members in seven offices.


Group Health becomes one of 20 beta sites to test a state-of-the-art computer system for practice management.


Group Health and Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield form Paragon to handle managed care plans in the Tristate.

Group Health establishes new office in Mason.


The Ruth Laux Award is established to recognize outstanding team members.

Group Health establishes new office in Finneytown.

Group Health online pharmacy launches in December.

Group Health administrative offices move to the current Norwood location.


The Mason center moves into new building on Mason-Montgomery Road.

In May, Springdale becomes the first office to go live on EpicCare, a computerized patient records database.


Paragon dissolved. Group Health enters fee-for-service world.


Group Health becomes part of TriHealth.


A record number of physicians join Group Health .


Group Health has more than 120 physicians in 18 specialties with 500,000 patient visits a year.

Group Health Springdale office chosen for first phase of the Patient-Centered Medical Home model project, designed to revolutionize family medicine and internal medicine practices.


Group Health debuts MyChart, an Internet-based tool for patients.

Group Health to moves into new Mason Community Center in August.

Group Health extends specialty care on west side of Cincinnati, opening an office at Good Samaritan Medical Center – Western Ridge in September.

In December, Group Health expects to break ground on a new center in Clifton.

By 2013, Group Health expects to have more than 140 physicians.