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Independent Physicians and the Changing Environment

By Safa Farzin, MD

Note: Independent physician networks and clinically integrated networks (CINs) can help medical practices thrive in the transition to value-based care, as Dr. Safa Farzin explains in this blog. Click here to learn how the Pennsylvania Medical Society's Practice Options Initiative can help medical practices join a CIN and still keep their clinical autonomy.

As health care costs continue to increase, patients and employers are seeking the highest value care available.

Value-based contracting involves payment or reimbursement based on indicators of value. Value care is simply providing the highest quality care at the lowest price.

As health care consumers and small business owners, we see increasing premiums affect not only our families but also our employees. Specifically, average deductibles during the past decade have nearly tripled.

The percentage of adults in high deductible health plans has increased from 7 percent in 2003 to 27 percent in 2014. The result is an employer and patient base that is spending significantly more money out of pocket for their health care. 

Patients are quickly becoming more savvy health care consumers. Employers and payers are also creating benefit designs that incentivize choosing high quality, low cost providers. 

Click here to learn how PAMED's Practice Options Initiative can help your medical practice succeed in value-based care

It is within this framework that opportunities exist for the independent physician and our patients.

Independent physician networks provide value by offering the same services at lower cost that are traditionally utilized within the more expensive health systems. By behaving as a network, referring within the network, and offering better population health management services, our patients will not only save money but recognize the value of choosing an independent physician network.

Participating in a physician led and owned network coordinating their care will also allow participating physicians to benefit from shared savings opportunities within future payment models.

The patient-doctor relationship is at the heart of good health and good health care. A physician network that assists patients in navigating a complex health care delivery system will greatly benefit patients in Pennsylvania. By focusing on value, price transparency, and patient choice, physician led and owned value-based care organizations will reshape health care in Central PA and in the rest of Pennsylvania.

About the blogger: Guest blogger Safa Farzin, MD, is a practicing critical care specialist in Dauphin County. He is a founding member and CEO of the Medical Group of Pennsylvania, a recently formed 440-member Independent Physician Association.

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