"Over the course of the past 10 years, we have developed joint outpatient services, including an outpatient surgery center, a sleep center, and they even have a durable medical equipment company housed in our clinic," he says. "The other thing we do very well together is working strategically on physician resource needs, particularly in specialty services."
He's careful to stress that these haven't been defensive joint ventures from either side. Rather, one of their key purposes was to develop that attitude that what is good for one organization is often good for the other. In other words, their interests are aligned. Certainly, they've had help through changes already under way in the payment system that reward quality outcomes and align as closely as possible reimbursement to those outcomes.
So much has the relationship paid dividends, that Brown caught himself when he spoke about Iowa Health System as "our health system."
"Our health system, that is, IHS, has a doc who serves as COO, and who I interface with primarily, and the past chair of our clinic serves on the board of directors at the health system and on their executive committee," he says. "Our current chair is involved with managed care strategies, and they have engaged a number of our physicians in various strategic initiatives. We've embraced that to do what we can."