Sixty physicians in metropolitan Kansas City, Mo., are forming their own multispecialty group practice so they'll have the brawn to bargain with area hospitals and payers.
Organizers are expected to file articles of incorporation for the group, Renaissance Health Partners, with Missouri this month. They plan to issue stock late this month and begin operations by year-end.
So far, Renaissance has raised $60,000 of the $1 million it will need to finance its start-up, said Steve Buie, M.D., a family physician and one of the group's organizers. They hope to draw another $60,000 by recruiting 60 more physicians and to raise the remaining capital from bank loans and other investors, Dr. Buie said. About half the physicians involved are primary-care providers.
Kansas City-area providers have consolidated rapidly in the past year. All but three of the area's 32 acute-care hospitals belong to a healthcare system or are developing a network with other hospitals (Aug. 8, p. 138). Many are buying physician practices.
"The question is, in the future, will the physician be a vendor or a professional?" Dr. Buie said. "This is a move to retain our autonomy for professional decisionmaking."
Initially, Renaissance will contract directly with employers to provide services, he said. Physicians in the group will monitor the use of medical services. Each will be free to work with several providers and health plans.