Lifespan, Rhode Island's largest health system, has partnered with four primary-care physician practices in the state.
The partnership, called Community Physician Partners Inc., will allow the physician groups to contract with Lifespan-affiliated health insurers while still remaining independent medical practices.
The four Rhode Island-based physician groups are Anchor Medical Associates, Medical Associates of Rhode Island, University Internal Medicine and University Medicine. Approximately 170 primary-care physicians are part of the partnership.
According to a news release, Lifespan, which already participates in bundled payments with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island, will share responsibility for cost and care of patients. The partnership will also provide the primary-care physicians with access to Lifespan's specialty clinicians and its electronic health record system. The physicians and nurses will keep all of their patients.
Dr. Nathan Beraha, medical director at Anchor Medical, said the partnership will improve care coordination because primary-care physicians now have the opportunity to work with specialty clinicians “on the same team.”
“There is a strong desire for primary-care physicians to want to go it alone, but in this day and age, we just can't,” said Dr. David Marcoux, co-founder of University Internal Medicine.
Lifespan, which has four acute-care hospitals and employs 1,800 physicians, can support the physician groups and help ease business burdens, said Dr. Timothy Babineau, president and CEO of Lifespan. “We strongly believe that the primary-care physician must take center stage in our efforts to deliver care in an extremely cost effective way.”
The burdens for primary-care physicians, which make up more than half of physician office visits in the U.S., have received more national attention. For example, Congressmen David Rouzer (R-N.C.) and Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) launched the bipartisan Primary Care Caucus in October 2015 to advocate for primary-care physicians.