History

Austin Regional Clinic began in 1980

Austin Regional Clinic was founded in 1980 by family practitioner Norman H. Chenven, MD. Chenven’s goal was to provide affordable health care to what was then a city of only 345,496. Inviting pediatricians Thomas Zavaleta, MD, and Carol Faget, MD to join his efforts, together they established what is now one of the largest multi-specialty group practices in Central Texas. Their mission, to provide access to quality, affordable health care in Austin and nearby communities such as Cedar Park, Pflugerville, and Round Rock, was realized and expanded exponentially throughout the upcoming years.

a photo of arc founder in black and white
two different pictures both showing a doctor with a child

Built with innovation

Over forty years ago, Austin’s healthcare community consisted primarily of solo and small group practices. Healthcare delivery throughout the United States was changing in response to employers demanding relief from spiraling insurance costs. Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) arose across the country, hoping to slow the increasing cost of care.

ARC’s trio of founding physicians took the unprecedented action of entering into a partnership with PruCare—Prudential Insurance Company's experiment in developing Austin's first health plan and health maintenance organization. Envisioning a medical group broadly available to the entire Austin community, they recruited additional physicians into the group and opened new clinics throughout the city. From its beginnings, ARC distinguished itself from other medical groups by offering services and conveniences smaller practices could not afford to offer, and established a system of quality assurance guaranteeing a high standard of care throughout the organization. Clearly, the medical choice for area residents, and as the 1980s concluded, the trusted healthcare provider operated 12 clinics throughout Austin and Round Rock.

Success and growth

For the healthcare community, the economic boom of the 1990s marked another bold Austin Regional Clinic decision. Noting the public had begun valuing healthcare choice over closed physician practices, ARC took a risk, resulting in the greatest period of change for the organization.

In 1993, ARC terminated its PruCare contract and negotiated new agreements with a wide selection of health plans. Now, patients had the option of staying with their ARC doctor(s) regardless of the health plan their employer chose. When free to choose, over 90% of our patients continued seeing their ARC doctors. This freedom of choice allowed Austin Regional Clinic to open and/or relocate another 10 clinics throughout the 1990s.

old picture of ARC hospital and a man beside an old signboard
a doctor checking a patient

Change and transition

During the first two decades of the 21st century, ARC responded to growth in surrounding communities, opening new quality healthcare clinics in Austin, Cedar Park, Leander, Pflugerville, Hutto, Round Rock, Kyle, Manor, Buda, Bee Cave, Dripping Springs, Georgetown, Liberty Hill, and Bastrop, meaning ARC now serves 14 area communities and has expanded to more than 30 clinics.

Present-day commitment

ARC focuses on quality, affordable health care through peer reviews, chart audits, and efficiency initiatives.

Our original mission of providing access to quality, affordable health care has remained the same as ARC grew, the community thrived, and advancements in medical science flourished. Through innovation and initiative, ARC has kept pace with its ever-expanding patient base in Austin and the surrounding communities. ARC patients now number over 580,000 that have access to any of ARC's locations in Austin and other Central Texas cities.

a group photo
ARC artwork

The road ahead

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. Today and beyond, we look forward to the future expansion of clinics, services, and specialties for the Central Texas community and to applying lessons learned from the pandemic to improve our systems and the health of all.