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 its first 40 years, 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, Georgetown, Bastrop, and Liberty Hill bringing the number of communities served to 14, and expanding the number of clinics to 33, our current number.
More clinics are planned for 2023 and 2024, including in a new market, Lockhart.
Now in our fifth decade, we have also addressed a global pandemic. ARC responded to the extreme challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, learning valuable lessons in delivering health care in new as well as traditional systems. Our multi-specialty medical group, with 19 specialties including recently-added Neurology, prides itself on our continued commitment to providing access to quality health care for the growing Central Texas population. We look forward to many more years of growth and service in our region.