News and Events

Dr. Abrohams Dr. Butt Dr. Ellin Dr. Gapsard Dr. Hipkens
Dr. Iravanian Dr. Murphy Dr. Pitre Dr. Smith

TSPMG Physicians Among Atlanta's "Top Doctors"


Atlanta magazine has once again honored a group of physicians from The Southeast Permanente Medical Group as “Top Doctors” for 2012. This year a total of nine TSPMG doctors were recognized in the July issue.

The TSPMG physicians who made the list are:

  • Richard B. Abrohams, MD - Kaiser Permanente Medical Center at Gwinnett
  • Kathleen S. Butt, MD - Kaiser Permanente Glenlake Medical Center
  • Richard S. Ellin, MD - Kaiser Permanente Alpharetta Medical Center
  • Patrice T. Gapsard, MD - Kaiser Permanente East Cobb Medical Office
  • James H. Hipkens, MD - Kaiser Permanente Medical Center at Gwinnett
  • Shahriar Iravanian, MD - Kaiser Permanente Glenlake Medical Center
  • Sean T. Murphy, MD - Kaiser Permanente Sugar Hill-Buford Medical Office
  • Reed Pitre, MD - Kaiser Permanente Medical Center at Gwinnett
  • Sharon D. Smith, MD - Kaiser Permanente Alpharetta Medical Center

Each year, independent health care research firm Castle Connolly asks physicians across metro Atlanta to nominate doctors they feel exhibit exceptional clinical skills and commitment to patient care. The results are compiled in the annual "Top Doctors" list, which is featured in the July edition of Atlanta Magazine.

“The broad physician community in metro-Atlanta repeatedly acknowledges the high quality care and collaborative culture within The Southeast Permanente Medical Group,” said Rob Schreiner, MD, TSPMG executive medical director. “Accolades such as ‘Atlanta magazine’s Top Docs’ accentuate our profile and relevance to Georgians.”

Dr. Abrohams specializes in geriatric medicine and is a member of the palliative care team, which provides end-of-life care for patients who are homebound. The team addresses the physical and social needs of patients with life-threatening illnesses. A graduate of the University of Minnesota Medical School, Abrohams has practiced at TSPMG since 1998.

Dr. Butt, who joined TSPMG in 1988, specializes in obstetrics and gynecology. A graduate of the Medical College of Georgia, she is recognized for her expertise in gynecologic surgery.

Dr. Ellin, who has practiced with TSPMG since 1985, specializes in internal medicine. A graduate of Emory University School of Medicine, he is recognized for his expertise in preventive care.

Dr. Gaspard, who joined TSPMG in 1997, specializes in pediatrics and pediatric surgery. A graduate of the Tulane University School of Medicine, she is recognized for her expertise in adolescent and preventive medicine.

Dr. Iravanian specializes in Cardiac Electrophysiology. He completed his residency and fellowship at the Emory University School of Medicine and is board-certified in Internal Medicine (Cardiovascular Disease).

Dr. Hipkens, a graduate of Emory University School of Medicine, is recognized for his expertise in complex diagnoses. In recent years, he has concentrated his work on diabetes and hypertension prevention. Hipkens has been with TSPMG since 1996.

Dr. Murphy specializes in family medicine and is passionate about preventive care. A graduate of the University of Washington School of Medicine, Murphy joined TSPMG in 1992.

Dr. Pitre joined TSPMG in 2004 and specializes in Psychiatry. He is a graduate of the Louisiana State University School of Medicine and completed his residency at Emory University School of Medicine.

Dr. Smith specializes in obstetrics/gynecology and is also a strong proponent of preventive care. A graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, she joined TSPMG in 1993.

The Southeast Permanente Medical Group provides care exclusively for Kaiser Permanente of Georgia members.


Kaiser Permanente TownPark ACC/CDU Garners Rave Reviews

The Kaiser Permanente TownPark Advanced Care Center / Clinical Decision Unit (ACC/CDU) in Kennesaw is garnering rave reviews from members across the Atlanta area.

Since it opened on May 1, more than 2,700 Kaiser Permanente members have been treated in the ACC. Approximately 170 were transferred to the CDU for additional treatment or testing and 3.3% were moved to other facilities.

The center has seen a wide variety of conditions, from low acuity cuts and scratches to more serious conditions such as congestive heart failure, cardiac arrythmia, stroke, pneumonia, and specialty cases including ENT, gynecology and others.

“The ACC/CDU is filling the niche it was designed to address – conditions that are a little too much for an Urgent Care center, but that don’t need a full emergency room,” said Peter King, MD, Physician Director of Acute Care Services. “Also, being able to treat members in our CDU has prevented hospital admission for about 20 patients each week.”

According to the ACC/CDU staff, Kaiser Permanente members appreciate that they receive such fast, high-quality care from KP clinicians and staff. Members who previously visited an outside ER say they are most impressed by the friendliness and efficiency of the TownPark team.

One member was especially impressed that the ACC staff could access their full medical record in KP HealthConnect.

“Normally, I would have spent many hours waiting in the ER, just to see a doctor who doesn’t know anything about me. Here, they know who I am because all of my records are online, and they treat me like family.”

The ability to quickly access patient records for members who visit the ACC is a significant benefit for the health care team.

“Having their information in KP HealthConnect helps us improve patient care,” said Larry Bartel, MD, lead CDU physician. “Patients appreciate not having to repeat all of their information and fill out forms, and they are diagnosed more accurately and treated faster than if they were in a non-KP facility. It makes a real difference in their overall experience.”

Members of the TownPark staff, most of whom joined KP after extensive experience in Kaiser Permanente urgent care operations and outside Emergency Rooms, say that the facility exceeds their expectations. According to Dr. King and Alison Wiebe, senior director of the ACC/CDU, workforce satisfaction is very high in spite of the predicted stresses of opening a new unit.  As word spreads in the medical community, nurses and physicians are inquiring about employment opportunities.

“It’s such a wonderful facility, clearly designed to assist us in delivering high-quality care,” said Wendy Cox, RN ACC/CDU supervisor. “It’s so bright and open and welcoming, unlike many emergency rooms or urgent care centers. The environment makes such a difference in how patients feel about their care, and this is a home run.”


Contact: Kerry Parker
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Dr. Rob Schreiner, Executive Medical Director for The Southeast Permanente Medical Group, Elected President of The Medical Association of Atlanta


Atlanta, GA – The Medical Association of Atlanta (MAA) recently installed its new officers at its annual meeting held at The Biltmore Ballroom in Atlanta. The MAA is a non-profit association dedicated to the advancement of organized medicine in the Atlanta area.

“Representing over 1,400 physician members, the medical association promotes the health and safety of our community through physician leadership and serves its members with integrity by proactive leadership to influence the profession of medicine,” said David Waldrep, executive director/CEO, for the Medical Association of Atlanta.  “The Medical Association of Atlanta is the largest component society of the Medical Association of Georgia and represents Atlanta physicians establishing the policies of the Medical Association of Georgia.”

Rob Schreiner, MD, FACP, FCCP, was elected president of the MAA for a one-year term. He has served as executive medical director for The Southeast Permanente Medical Group, Inc. (TSPMG) in Atlanta since 2008.  In this role, he leads one of Atlanta’s largest multi-specialty medical groups, with overall executive responsibility for the cost and quality of healthcare provided to over 240,000 Kaiser Permanente members in 28 medical facilities and four hospitals in a 28-county metropolitan service area, and over 740 TSPMG physicians, associate practitioners and professional staff.

“I am honored to participate in the leadership of this important organization at a time when there is so much interest in the delivery of health care,” said Dr. Schreiner. “Effective physician leadership is particularly necessary during this time of rapid change in our field.  The interests and needs of patients must be the center of civil debate that includes the experienced, balanced, altruistic voice of the physician.”

Dr. Schreiner also serves on the board of directors of Trees Atlanta, a non-profit organization that has enhanced and preserved Atlanta’s urban forest since 1985. He is a member of the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) Board of Advisors, and also serves on the Environmental Policy and Sustainability Committee.  Dr. Schreiner is a Director of the Buckhead Coalition, a longstanding non-profit organization dedicated to improving life in the Buckhead Community of Atlanta.  For over 10 years, Dr. Schreiner served in several physician-leadership roles on the Medical Executive Committee (MEC) of Northside Hospital Atlanta. He is also a long-time volunteer at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Home (OLPHH), an Atlanta area hospice that provides no-cost care for patients with terminal cancer.

“Atlanta is fortunate to have these physician leaders serve and continue the tradition of organized medicine that began in 1854,” said Waldrep.

According to Waldrep, MAA members have united their individual voices and efforts into one cohesive body of progress, representing the new face of organized medicine in areas of legislation, community service, and individual patient care. In an era when outside influences are disrupting and dividing the practice of medicine more than ever before, MAA members stand as a united front, working to affect needed changes in today’s healthcare systems, while remaining steadfast in support of the historic image of the skilled, caring, hands-on physician.

For more information on the Medical Association of Atlanta, please visit or call 404.881.1020.






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