New collaboration to back physician autonomy in system-dominated market — 4 insights

Two Pennsylvania organizations are collaborating to support an increasing number of independent medical practices in the region.

Four things to know:

1. The Independent Medical Doctors of Western Pennsylvania and the Allegheny County Medical Society signed a two-year agreement to develop and promote new physician practice models, the organizations announced Jan. 15.

2. They aim to bolster a number of direct primary care, concierge, cash pay and direct-to-employer models that have emerged in the last 16 months amid a lengthy contract dispute between Pittsburgh-based systems UPMC and Allegheny Health Network.

3. As part of the collaboration, ACMS will form a committee focused on addressing regulatory and payment issues facing independent physicians, as well as assessing opportunities for new care models. ACMS also relaunched its group purchasing program.

4. There are about 900 independent physicians practicing in the Pittsburgh region, ACMS CEO Jeremy Bonfini told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He estimated that 90 percent of area physicians are employed by larger systems, making it one of the country's most consolidated healthcare markets.

"We are reinventing the traditional medical society model to serve all physicians in Allegheny County, including those that work in major health systems," he told the Post-Gazette.

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