Victoria Surgical Associates

Dr. Peter Rojas, right, who left Victoria Surgical Associates almost three years ago, said the practice has been instrumental in providing the region’s general surgical needs.

Victoria Surgical Associates will lose at least three of its surgeons in the coming months.

“Dr. Andrew Clemmons and Dr. Shahid Hashmi will be joining Citizens Medical Center’s team of employed physicians as of Oct. 1 and will continue to provide surgical services to the community,” said Citizens Medical Center spokesperson Jennifer McDaniel.

Dr. Matthew Janzow plans to move to Cape Girardeau, Mo., where he will be the chief medical officer at Southeast Hospital beginning Oct. 1, said his wife, Missy Janzow. The couple grew up there and still have family living there, Janzow said. He also plans to pursue his MBA.

Six surgeons work at Victoria Surgical Associates, including the three who plan to leave. One of the six, Dr. Hannah Starkey-Smith, started working at the practice Thursday. The other two surgeons are Dr. John E. Barber and Dr. Michael Belew.

“Except for Dr. Janzow, who will be leaving, all of the other surgeons will be available to this community,” Barber said.

However, Barber said, there will be changes at the practice.

The Texas Medical Board requires doctor’s offices to notify their patients when a physician leaves a practice. Victoria Surgical Associates plans to make an announcement regarding the changes soon, Barber said.

“We may not be closing,” said Victoria Surgical Associates administrator Patricia DeLeon. “There are still decisions to be made.”

Dr. Peter Rojas, who left the practice three years ago after almost 40 years with the group, said the practice has been instrumental in providing the region’s general surgical needs.

Dr. Del Williams, Dr. Bill Bolton and Dr. Robert Johnston were among a handful of surgeons in Victoria when the practice began in the 1970’s, Rojas said.

Omar Rachid, who worked as a physician recruiter at Citizens Medical Center until February, said he’s not worried about a lack of surgeons in the community, but the movement of doctors may be indicative of medical business trends.

Running an independent practice can have high overhead costs, including maintaining online medical records, even when multiple physicians go into business together, Rachid said.

Working at a place like Citizens, Rachid said, is appealing because the hospital fronts many of these expenses.

As independent practitioners seek stability, hospitals are hiring, he said.

Until 2014, Citizens Medical Center employed only four physicians, who were all cardiologists. Rachid said the hospital began a hiring spree during that year. Since then, the hospital has hired around 16 additional physicians.

Rachid said he’s proud of the quality of Victoria’s physicians, some of whom he helped bring here.

Rachid even had hip surgery done in Victoria.

“I had full recovery,” Rachid said. “The quality of surgery I received was certainly top-notch.”

This story was updated on Aug. 6, 2019 to include Dr. Robert Johnston as a founder.

Morgan is the business reporter for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at (361) 580-6328, mohanlon@vicad.com or @mcohanlon.

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