Five large, independent physician groups in Ohio are collaborating to ensure their survival against the growing employment of physicians by health systems.
Members of the Ohio Independent Collaborative are looking at collaborating on group purchasing, national risk-based contracts and possibly malpractice insurance in an effort to ensure their financial sustainability. The group's founding members include Community Health Care, Northern Ohio Medical Specialists, Pioneer Physicians Network, Premier Physicians and Unity Health Network.
The group, composed of more than 400 physicians of varying specialties serving over 450,000 patients, is hoping to take advantage of its heft as a large organization while still remaining independent. It's an effort to stand up to big clinically integrated networks like Cleveland Clinic and Cincinnati-based Mercy Health, said Gary Pinta, president of the collaborative and a leader with the Uniontown, Ohio-based Pioneer Physicians Network.
“We felt that the winds of change are coming and this may be the thing that stops independent practice from continuing in Ohio,” Pinta said. “We believe we have individualized care (and) patient-centered philosophy, as opposed to the corporate world.”
Pinta said insurers have lobbied physician groups to collaborate so that payers have lower-cost alternatives when they go to form networks. To engage in those contracts, he noted that the physicians will also need to work together on data analytics.
The founding members of the group are based in northern Ohio, but Pinta said the group is working with contacts in Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo as well, and the goal is to cover the entire state. They're starting with the bigger physician networks, and then working toward individual practices.