Physician Alignment Strategies to Counter Uncertainty

Michael Zeis, for HealthLeaders Media , September 18, 2012

Aligning to capture revenue, control costs
The changing revenue picture causes both physicians and hospitals to do some financial soul-searching. Independent private-practice physicians worry about declining reimbursements, just as hospitals do, and seek employment to stabilize their income. Many newly minted physicians seek employment right after their residencies, opting out of establishing and running a medical practice of their own.

Hospitals need to understand and control cost and perform in a way that will maximize reimbursement rates. Hospital IT systems monitor both financial and clinical events. But such systems, to be effective, need virtually universal buy-in to EMRs, CPOE, and other information-capture and analysis programs. Two-thirds (64%) of respondents place physician buy-in to quality and safety initiatives among the top three motivations behind their alignment strategy for employed physicians.

Vanguard Health Chicago is working toward the buy-in objective with independent physicians in addition to employed physicians. Louis D. Papoff, an advisor for the Intelligence Report, is vice president and chief financial officer of ambulatory operations for Vanguard Health Chicago, part of Vanguard Health Systems of Nashville. He says, "From a corporate point of view, our executives recognize and strongly believe that physician integration is essential. And it can be done alongside employing physicians. We want to be a system that is able to achieve ACO savings and achieve significant quality results that in turn can be used as leverage for better quality-based payments. The only way to achieve that would be to make sure that the private practitioners are appropriately and fully integrated
into our program."

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