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Chris Lucius, MD Named to New Role in TSPMG

The Southeast Permanente Medical Group is pleased to announce that Chris Lucius, MD, has been named Physician Program Director for Internalization and Implementation, Quality and Patient Safety.

In his new role, Dr. Lucius will be in charge of building quality and patient safety into all newly internalized specialties and services, and will be the medical group leader on medication safety. He will also lead patient safety work for TSPMG surgeons and network surgeons. In addition, he will be a permanent member of the trainer group for Highly Reliable Team training and work in partnership with Rahul Nayak, MD in leading patient safety and performance of root cause analyses.

Dr. Lucius joined TSPMG in 2002 as a general surgeon. He received his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia and completed his residency at Atlanta Medical Center.



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.”



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Kaiser Permanente of Georgia is growing. We are located in more than 25 metro Atlanta facilities and associated hospitals. Kaiser Permanente will make a significant investment over the next five years to considerably increase the number of facilities, services and specialty care throughout Atlanta.

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