"The future of healthcare will require us to significantly partner with the physicians to be successful," says McGuire. "We wanted to move forward on path of mutual alignment where it wasn't us versus them. But there was this lingering mistrust with the physicians so we came to the conclusion we had to burn down our old way of doing things and start anew."
However before an equal partnership could be solidified, the six separate physician groups had to unify and have one voice at the table. The process took nearly a year but in January of 2011, the six St. John Providence-affiliated physicians' organizations became one—The Physician Alliance.
The newly created physicians' organization, consisting of more than 2,300 Michigan doctors, announced a progressive mission: "The organization will assure a more synergistic partnership with St. John Providence Health System and its hospitals, including evolution toward an accountable care organization while maximizing pay-for-performance income for our physicians. The key focus will remain on educating providers around clinical excellence and newly evolving market trends as well as development of strategic contracting opportunities, including risk contracting when appropriate."
In May 2011, The Physician Alliance created an equal partnership with St. John Providence Health System to become SJP Partners in Care. The partnership also required a significant investment to The Physician Alliance by St. John Providence for IT (including an EMR, health information exchange, and patient portal) and other infrastructure changes to encourage better communication and management of care.