How We Began: Palo Alto Medical Clinic
When Palo Alto Medical Clinic (PAMC) –- the oldest of the three historic physician groups affiliated with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) –- formed in 1930, the idea of doctors working together was so revolutionary that some thought it to be anticompetitive, or even communist. PAMC was not only one of the first physician groups in the country, but also one of the first in the region to offer a specialist in obstetrics and surgery, and a pediatrician who also happened to be one of Palo Alto's first female physicians.
As Palo Alto and Stanford University grew, so did PAMC. The group soon developed a synergistic relationship with Stanford, helping to teach its medical students and recruiting many of its new physicians from among the Stanford graduates. PAMC also played a key role in bringing Stanford Medical School, which was originally located in San Francisco, to Palo Alto in 1960.
By the 1970s, however, factors such as the growth of managed care and the rising cost for incoming doctors to buy into the partnership were threatening PAMC's future well-being. To solve the problem, the for-profit physician group decided to create a not-for-profit foundation that would control its operations and assets. In 1981, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation was formed and a period of dynamic change began, including the opening of a second clinic, the Fremont Center, in 1984 and the addition of an outpatient surgery center in 1986.
In 1993, PAMF became a Sutter Health affiliate and continued to grow. Work soon began on a new medical campus, and in 1999, the 305,000-square-foot PAMF Palo Alto Center opened to patients. On the eve of the physician group merger, PAMC had grown to include more than 380 doctors caring for patients at 15 locations: Castro Valley Primary Care, Castro Valley Women's Health, Dublin Center, Fremont Center, Los Altos Center, Menlo Park Surgical Hospital, Palo Alto Center, Portola Valley Women's Health Center, Redwood City Center, Redwood City Women's Health Center, Redwood Shores Center, San Carlos Family Medicine, Sunnyvale Sports Medicine and Welch Road Nephrology.
Additional information: The First 75 Years
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