The Group Health Association of America, which has long been at odds with the American Medical Association over the role of managed care, is setting up its own physicians group.
The association hopes to have the new group up and running within the next year.
According to GHAA President Karen Ignagni, the group will start as a GHAA membership category butManaged care
if successful will evolve into a separate organization.
The stated aim of the group is to "facilitate dialogue and information exchange," according to GHAA documents. It will also collaborate with other physician groups, including the American College of Physicians, the American Society of Internal Medicine and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
However the group would also undertake some policy initiatives and might eventually take on the AMA over issues such as physician control of managed-care plans, Ignagni said.
The GHAA board of trustees voted to form the physician group at its annual meeting in San Diego last month.
The formation of the group comes at a time when managed-care plans and the AMA are jockeying for position on a number of fronts including reform of the Medicare system.
With Republicans considering a system that would allow beneficiaries to choose from among a number of managed-care and fee-for-service plans, the AMA would like to make it easier for physician-led plans to compete in the market.
The GHAA has called for provider plans to be subject to the same regulations as insurers, a move that providers say would make it nearly impossible for them to compete.
AMA officials could not be reached for comment on the GHAA plans.