Skip to main content

Analysis

CareMount Leads on Value-Based Care Strategies With an Eye on Physician Compensation

By Jack O'Brien  
   January 30, 2020

CareMount Medical CEO Scott Hayworth, MD, FACOG, and CFO Kevin Conroy, MS, discuss effective approaches to improving patient outcomes.

Facilitating a robust population health effort and lowering the cost of care for patients are two of the top priorities for CareMount Medical, according to its leaders. 

In an interview with HealthLeaders, Scott Hayworth, MD, FACOG, chief executive officer of CareMount Medical, P.C., and Kevin Conroy, MS, chief financial officer (CFO) of CareMount, spoke about the organization’s dedication to improving patient experience.

CareMount is an independent multispecialty medical group in New York State, comprised of 500 doctors and 650 providers at 45 locations, including eight urgent care centers.

Last year, CareMount entered the New York City market and now caters to more than 660,000 patients, according to Hayworth. Additionally, CareMount operates its own Next Generation Accountable Care Organization (ACO), which delivered almost $780,000 in shared savings in 2018.

Below are three value-based healthcare initiatives that CareMount has implemented.

  1. Understand what’s best for the patient

"[A] topic that's important to me is how we are trying to improve our interaction with patients through either access programs, telemedicine programs, or other types of technologies," Conroy says. "As a patient takes more control of their care, it's important to address their concerns as much as it is to address our physicians and employees’ concerns." 

Organizations aiming to implement a successful value-based care program should be treating patients in the least-expensive care venue, according to Conroy, and improving communications within the organization about patient care options. 

CareMount is also using data to improve patient interactions and improve outcomes, according to Conroy. This includes patient data-sharing between physicians and specialists as well as the creation of report cards that have "easily digestible" information and are embedded in EHRs.

"One [key] is the data and report card so we can get real-time information to physicians to help them take care of their patients as well as prosper under a value-based care [model]," Conroy says. 

  1. Oversee population health, too

In addition to his role as CFO, Conroy also serves as CareMount's population health officer (PHO), which he says allows him to "quarterback" the organization's value-based care strategy. 

Conroy previously served as president of WellCare of New York Health Plan before joining CareMount in 2014, according to Hayworth, who says this prior experience made Conroy the "perfect" choice for the PHO role.

Hayworth adds that CareMount has focused on cutting the cost curve as it also looks to move patients to inexpensive areas of care and reduce the utilization of skilled nursing facilities and emergency care centers.

Conroy says both his CFO and PHO roles require a careful and strategic focus on analyzing costs, especially since many value-based initiatives are an “expensive proposition.” 

Conroy says this is because health systems have to invest in technology or clinical staff, such as care coordinators, discharge planners, and data analysts.

"The trick was how to balance the growth in [value-based] competencies and add those into the physician mix,” Conroy says. “At the same time, you’re trying to restructure your contracts so that you're paid and rewarded for value-based care from both the payers, as well as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services with the alternative payment models. The trick is to try and keep those two aspects alive as you move forward into value."

  1. Make sure changes to physician compensation stick

Conroy says that as a nonclinician serving in the PHO role, he makes sure to prioritize working with CareMount's physician leadership to accomplish the organization's goals in value-based care.

One crucial aspect is aligning physician compensation to value-based protocols, Conroy says, and tying a physicians' pay to patient outcomes and quality metrics.

Related: 5 Vital Business Signs for Medical Groups

To generate acceptance to changes in the physician compensation system, CareMount created a governance program that allows for a transparent process and line of communication up through the department chairs about which direction the organization is headed.

Hayworth adds that organizations can't have a physician compensation system that rewards fee-for-service production.

"[Modifying physician compensation] takes a lot of time and a lot of effort but you're rewarded in the end," Hayworth says. "There's no doubt we end up in a good place with a compensation system that's going to last us a while. When you're taking on the compensation system, you can do some minor tweaks, but you want to build something for 10 years because you don't want to stress the organization. That's a real physician morale killer."

Tips for being a healthcare leader in 2020

Hayworth says ensuring patients can obtain their data and schedule appointments in a seamless way is crucial for modern health system executives.

"There are so many pieces to the puzzle and it's so important that you concentrate on every piece," Hayworth says. “It’s also a journey that takes many years to improve the patient experience. I've been CEO for 23 years and [have been] speaking about patient experience since before it was popular. We inch along every year to keep improving and we have work to do, but I think everyone organization has work to do." 

He adds that CareMount’s care coordination team excels at communicating with patients about follow-up visits and what medications to take after discharge.

Conroy echos Hayworth’s sentiments, adding that CareMount utilizes its multispecialty model to offer a “more holistic approach to care” for patients, including imaging and laboratory services integrated on one EHR.

“Making [CareMount] kind of a one-stop-shop for our patients and having access, telemedicine, and the digital capabilities is going to be more key as we move forward," Conroy says.

Related: 4 Great Ideas We Heard at the CFO Exchange

Conroy will be attending our Winter CFO Exchange at The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans, next month, which provides hospital and health system financial executives an opportunity to discuss leadership strategies.

"I'm pumped up and one thing you should know about [Hayworth] is that he made sure that [we are attending] HealthLeaders' meetings," Conroy says. "It's important that we're out there learning from our peers as to how they're tackling the challenges of succeeding in this ever-changing environment."

The CFO Exchange is one of six healthcare thought-leadership and networking events that HealthLeaders holds annually, allowing knowledge to be shared in a comfortable setting.

To inquire about the HealthLeaders Exchange program, email us at exchange@healthleadersmedia.com.

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Photo credit: CareMount Medical, P.C., CEO Scott Hayworth, MD, FACOG, delivers a presentation during a HealthLeaders CEO Exchange gathering in Park City, Utah. (HealthLeaders/Dana Hartig)


Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.