ALBANY — Health insurer CDPHP and the region’s largest independent physician practice, Community Care Physicians, are forming a management partnership.
The two will remain separate entities, and Community Care will maintain its identity, autonomy, and arrangements with other insurers, the CDPHP said in an announcement Thursday.
The Management Services Organization proposed through the partnership will provide administrative services to clinical practices of community care. It will be owned by the CDPHP, work alongside Community Care’s current non-clinical staff, and will be located in the new headquarters in Latham, which Community Care announced earlier this year.
The partnership is awaiting state regulatory approval but is expected to close by December 31.
Community Care said in a news release that the deal will boost the quality of care and the patient experience.
Dr. Shirish Parikh, Founder and CEO, Community Care, said, “Together, we will adopt a comprehensive patient approach to population health management using integrated data and analytics, which will help patients live longer, healthier and happier lives. “
CDPHP President and CEO Dr. John Bennett called it a next step in the insurer’s move to value-based reimbursement, through which medical providers are paid based on patient outcomes rather than services rendered.
Bennett has directed other steps to integrate small-scale health care, including moving CDPHP staff to larger local hospitals. CDPHP also purchased a pharmacy and, earlier this year, launched it as the doctor’s office of the future – a massive new Clifton Park facility that brings together a number of specialty practices under one roof with CDPHP.
By comparison, that office was a pilot project and the partnership with Community Care is full-scale, Bennett said Thursday.
The CDPHP and other health insurers have evolved over the past few decades from background organizations that have paid the bills to visible and active advocates for the health of their members. Bennett explained that encouraging people to stay healthy while making their path to health easier and less expensive has an upfront cost, but it reduces the long-term cost of poor health.
“Making people healthier lowers the cost of their care and insurance,” he said. “We sell health insurance, obviously, but we don’t see ourselves as an insurance company, we see ourselves as a company dedicated to health.”
Integrated systems created by Kaiser Permanente and Geisinger – both health insurers also owning hospitals, research centers, a medical school – follow the payer model, which seeks to provide and pay care not only under one roof but within a single management system. Coordinating organizations.
That’s where Bennett is trying to move the CDHPP, and the Community Care Agreement takes that effort forward.
“It’s really about the integrated distribution system and that’s the first step,” he said on Thursday.
The CDPHP stated that the Management Services Organization (which has yet to be named) should be invisible to patients: medical practices would maintain the same name, location, and care providers, and would accept the same insurance plans.
And the workforce will remain unchanged, Bennett said.
“Some people will have their employers of record change, but there will be no loss of jobs,” he said. “On the first day, everything will look the same.”
Community Care employs approximately 1,800 people in 70 practices in eight counties, including more than 420 physicians in 30 specialties. CDPHP’s 1,200 employees manage coverage for 400,000 members in 29 upstate counties.
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