The Federal Trade Commission provided a favorable advisory opinion for the clinical integration program of the Greater Rochester (N.Y.) Independent Practice Association, GRIPA officials said. The FTC staff opinion indicates that the FTC does not intend to challenge the program, including its plan to negotiate payer contracts on behalf of its members.
The program, called GRIPA Connect Clinical Integration, has been in development over the past two years, focusing on improving the quality of healthcare and access to care while curbing costs. GRIPA officials said the goal is to create a connected community of physicians, hospitals, laboratories and imaging facilities that share electronic access to patient information.
As part of clinical integration, the physicians in the GRIPA network are required to adhere to clinical guidelines developed by the physicians themselves based on research into best practices. A health information exchange, which is a virtual electronic network for physicians to securely collaborate with each other and the patients they are treating, is at the heart of the program. The opinion marks only the second time that the FTC has given a go-ahead to a clinical integration program and the first time in five years, according to GRIPA. GRIPA is a partnership of physicians and ViaHealth hospitals in the region. -- by Cinda Becker / HITS staff writer