It Began in 1980
Austin Regional Clinic opened its doors during a time of industry transformation. Austin was a city of 345,496, small communities like Cedar Park, Pflugerville and Round Rock were considered “in the country,” Highway 183 was a two-lane country road, and Whole Foods Market was about to open its first small store at 10th and Lamar.
Austin Regional Clinic was founded in 1980 by family practitioner Norman H. Chenven, MD, who invited pediatricians Thomas Zavaleta, MD, and Carol Faget, MD, to join him in establishing what is now one of the largest multi-specialty group practices in Central Texas. Their mission then, as it is today, was to provide access to quality, affordable health care.
The 80's Healthcare Landscape
At that time, Austin's health care community consisted mostly of solo and small group practices. Health care delivery throughout the United States was changing in response to employers demanding relief from the spiraling costs. Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) began to spring up across the country with the expectation that they could help slow the increasing cost of care.
This small group of physicians took the unprecedented action of entering into a partnership with PruCare, which was Prudential Insurance Company's experiment in developing Austin's first health plan and health maintenance organization.
The three founding physicians envisioned a medical group that would be broadly available to the entire Austin community. They recruited new physicians to the group and opened new facilities throughout the city. ARC was distinguished from most other practices by offering services and conveniences that smaller practices could not afford to offer, and by establishing a system of quality assurance that ensured a high standard of care throughout the organization. Throughout the 1980s, ARC continued to grow and gain the loyalty of Austin residents. By the end of the 1980s, ARC operated 12 clinics throughout Austin and in Round Rock.
Growth and Choice in the 1990s
The economic boom of the 1990s effected a change in the healthcare community and marked a turning point in the way Austin Regional Clinic did business. As the public began to value healthcare choice over closed physician practices, ARC made another risky decision that resulted in the greatest period of change for the organization.
In 1993, ARC terminated its contract with PruCare and negotiated new agreements with a wide selection of health plans. This change meant that patients had the option of staying with their ARC physicians regardless of the health plan that their employer might choose. The result was that when free to choose their own physicians, over 90% of our patients continued to see their ARC doctors.
Throughout the 1990s, ARC continued to grow, opening or relocating another 10 clinics.
Responding to a growing community and unprecedented challenges 2000-present
During the first two decades of the 21st century, ARC responded to the growth of the surrounding communities, opening new clinics in Austin, Cedar Park, Leander, Pflugerville, Hutto, Round Rock, Kyle, Manor, Buda, Bee Cave, Dripping Springs, and Georgetown, bringing the number of communities served to 12, and expanding the number of clinics to 30, our current number.
Three more clinics are planned for 2021 in Austin, Bastrop, and Liberty Hill.
Our multi-specialty medical group prides itself on our continued commitment to providing access to quality health care for the growing Central Texas population.
Now, as we enter our third decade of the century, we have addressed a global pandemic. ARC responded to the extreme challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, learning valuable lessons in delivering health care when our traditional systems were not enough. But as we begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel, we look forward to continued growth, and the continuation of our mission to provide access to quality health care for the growing Central Texas population.
ARC is dedicated to providing affordable, quality health care to all of our patients, while making sure our patients have easy access to that health care.
How do we do that?
- multiple locations
- over 50 health plans accepted
- Same-Day appointments
- extended hours in ARC After Hours Clinics
- telemedicine visits for illness and wellness
- ability to talk to a medical professional 24/7
- ability to book an appointment online or on the phone 24/7
- access to your medical records through ARC MyChart
- on-site lab services
- on-site or nearby radiology services
- eMD Access, our new telemedicine app
In addition to making our health care easily accessible to all patients, ARC also provides connected care, whereby our patients’ healthcare teams can interact with each other, providing communication and continuity among all ARC specialties and a more coordinated treatment of each patient.
Other innovations and initiatives
ARC focuses on quality through such programs as peer reviews, chart audits and efficiency initiatives.
ARC's original mission - to provide access to quality, affordable health care - has remained the same even as ARC has grown, the community has thrived, and advancements in medical science have flourished. The growth and success of ARC have kept pace with the growth and expansion of Austin and the surrounding communities. As our patient base has grown, so has the vision for the organization.
ARC patients, now numbering 535,000 and about 25% of the Greater Austin metropolitan residents, can visit any of ARC's 30 locations in Austin and 11 other cities in Central Texas.
Focusing on quality, ARC prides itself on its population health program, Medicare wellness program, disease management programs and much-emulated physician peer review program, designed to monitor and continuously improve the overall quality of care for the patients ARC serves.
Contributing to Community
ARC physicians and employees contribute to the greater good of the community by volunteering their time to many local events and through service to various hospitals and non-profit organizations. In addition, ARC physicians serve on numerous professional boards and committees and donate innumerable hours of professional time with direct service charity clinics in the Central Texas and medical missions abroad.
In 2020, the physicians and staff of ARC celebrated over 40 years of service, during an unprecedented health crisis that taxed our organization, but also allowed us to innovate and pivot to meet demands. In 2021, we look forward to the future expansion of facilities, services, and specialties for our Central Texas communities, and applying lessons learned from the pandemic to improving our systems and the health of all.