DuPage Medical Group began 50 years ago as the brainchild of Dr. Robert McCray, a local surgeon and health care visionary. Dr. McCray’s advancements helped redefine the physician practice in DuPage County into the kind of personalized, leading-edge health care that until then was rarely available outside the university medical or research center settings.
In the early 1960s, Dr. McCray was still new to medicine as a private-practice surgeon in Glen Ellyn, Ill., when he began re-imagining the physician practice as a way to give local patients access to advanced care specialists and related medical services all under one roof. A revolutionary idea at a time when only 11 physicians practiced in Glen Ellyn with few medical specialists, Dr. McCray anticipated many aspects of group practice now considered commonplace.
Dr. McCray visited 35 clinics across the country, including Minnesota’s prestigious Mayo Clinic, examining specific elements that made group practices successful. He teamed with several local physicians – fellow surgeon and partner Dr. Glen Asselmeier, internists Drs. Joe Crumrine, Fred Kuharich and James Erlenborn and pediatricians Drs. James Vercoe and William Kindrachuk. Dr. Gary Christensen joined the team a short time later after completing a residency in obstetrics and gynecology.
The group broke ground in August 1963 on a 12,000-square-foot building and agreed on calling itself the Glen Ellyn Clinic, partly in homage to the Mayo Clinic.
Built with Innovation
The Glen Ellyn Clinic opened its doors on September 1, 1964, with eight physicians, 15 nurses and a staff of lab technicians and administrative personnel. The clinic offered a host of innovations that were groundbreaking at the time – a laboratory, X‑ray services and a pharmacy, all onsite. The clinic offered evening hours, around-the-clock pediatric care and an urgent care department. For the first time, DuPage County patients had access to a full range of specialty health care – surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and ancillary services – in one location.
The clinic embraced administrative innovations as well. Physicians combined their nursing and office staffs, medical records and billing functions. Accounts receivable were pooled and a bonus structure implemented based on performance and clinic profitability. The founders also ensured partnerships would be available to younger physicians.
After it’s first year of operation, the clinic was seeing 300 new patients a month. By 1970, the partnership had grown to 25 physicians, while office and lab space was added with a 24,000-square-foot clinic expansion.
Success and Growth
The clinic’s patient population and staff continued expanding in the early 1970s. Two new office buildings were built to accommodate the many new medical specialists who were joining. New physicians saw Glen Ellyn Clinic as an opportunity to practice in the company of established colleagues. Meanwhile, the clinic introduced a range of specialties to the Western Suburbs, including thoracic surgery, neurosurgery, cardiac surgery, gastroenterology, invasive cardiology and neonatology.
The clinic continued expanding in the 1980s, adding 38,000 square feet of office and lab space to accommodate physicians in 16 specialties and sub-specialties. Clinic offices were opened in Bloomingdale and Naperville with a full range of services. By the end of the decade, the Glen Ellyn Clinic was one of the city’s biggest employers – 80 physicians and a staff of 480 handling 300,000 annual patient visits. It also owned one of the largest clinic operated labs in Illinois, annually performing more than 100,000 tests onsite and 25,000 more offsite.
Change and Transition
The 1990s saw significant changes as several founding clinic partners began retiring. In addition, advances in medical and information technology required significant financial investment to keep pace with the industry. Beyond that, the emergence of managed care and the resulting changes in reimbursement methods called for new operational strategies. In the late 1990s, the clinic became part of the country’s largest physician management company in an effort to ensure the financial strength it needed to continue growing.
The new arrangement didn’t mean an end to the challenges, however. As managed care gained ground in the 1990s, physician groups across the country experienced increasing pressures, including two others in DuPage County that would figure prominently in the Glen Ellyn Clinic’s future – Mid-America Health Partners and Wheaton Medical Clinic.
Formed in 1964, Wheaton Medical Clinic included 25 physicians and had recently affiliated itself with a major health insurer. With 50 primary care physicians, Mid-America Health Partners had formed in 1995 as a physician-led independent practice group. After Wheaton Medical Clinic merged with the Glen Ellyn Clinic in 1997, Mid-America joined the following year. Shortly after, physicians from all three began efforts to return the combined clinic to the private physician group-practice model under local control.
The result was DuPage Medical Group formed in 1999.
DuPage Medical Group became the state’s leading multi-specialty group practice and has been committed to superior care and innovation, with a leadership structure designed to maintain balance between primary and specialty care. With more than 700 primary care and specialty physicians in more than 100 locations, DuPage Medical Group grew to handle upwards of 2 million patient visits annually, treating about a third of DuPage County’s population.
DuPage Medical Group became Duly Health and Care on September 15, 2021.
Our name is a promise to practice healthcare the way it was intended. “Du” means two in Latin – as in two partners: patient and caregiver, working together toward the same goals. And as in two parts of our story: where we came from – DuPage – and where we’re headed – the way healthcare should feel.
Duly Health and Care is the largest independent, multi-specialty physician-directed medical group in the Midwest with more than 900 primary care and specialty care physicians and more than 6,000 team members, in over 150 locations. The organization is wholly dedicated to helping all it serves flourish by challenging the expected to deliver the extraordinary in health and care.
Duly Health and Care physicians and team members support nearly 2.5 million individuals in their personal health journeys each year, helping each one to meet their extraordinary potential through a holistic care delivery model designed to make health and care welcoming, simplified and personalized.
And true to the legacy of Dr. McCray and his co-founders, Duly Health and Care remains tireless in pursuit of innovation that challenges the expected to deliver the extraordinary to all we serve.