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How to Achieve Physician Practice Integration

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, July 15, 2011

We dove into that topic recently at a HealthLeaders Media Roundtable that I hosted here in Nashville. While no one had the absolutely foolproof recipe for attaining integration and accountability, they all have a lot of experience doing so, and it would behoove many leaders at hospitals and health systems that are neck deep in physician acquisition to listen to what they have to say.

Among the nuggets of wisdom:
  • "Health systems are approaching employment of physicians from a healthy level of conservatism."—Mike Murphy, Trinity Health
  • "Physicians feel like they have to be aligned with somebody. We're seeing that on the primary care side, but cardiology is probably the most impacted product line right now. Orthopedics is also heading in that direction. But alignment is what begins to create the desired effect, which is efficient care, better-quality care, and cost savings. When you get that alignment, it's amazing what can happen from a care standpoint."—Kent Wallace, Vanguard Health Systems

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  • The quality of care that's delivered is inversely proportional to the number of specialists per population. It's directly proportional to the number of primary care physicians per population. If you look at the procedure volumes and hospitalizations per thousand, you require far greater primary and extender populations than you do specialty.—Steve Moore, Catholic Health Initiatives

There's plenty more advice on one of the toughest challenges facing hospitals and health systems as they try to integrate lines of business that have long operated in silos. Check it out in this free report.


Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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1 comments on "How to Achieve Physician Practice Integration"


A. J. Rosmarin (8/12/2011 at 9:29 AM)
As a subject matter expert in physician practice management advisory services, I can state that there arer five prime reasons to consider integration. Unless a practice can realize a net gain in at least two of them, the probability of a successful and mutually-rewarding transaction is low. The five key components are: 1) Infrastructure economies of scale (documented cost-savings) 2) increase in managed care contract reimbursement 3) Group purchasing advantages 4) Malpractice premium reductions 5) Complementary services Emotional integration for the sake of "just doing something" is never a good reason to act. With one-third of practicing physicians aged 55 and over, this is a subject of increasing frequency.