The dawning of 2019 brings to Akron, Ohio and Austin, Texas what Columbus, Ohio residents already know well: A unique model of care enabled by global risk contracts for Medicare Advantage patients with regional and national health plans that allows primary care physicians to spend the right amount of time with the right patient at the right time. And primary care physicians and patients alike love it.
The proof of its effectiveness rests with the measurable satisfaction of patients like Vicki S. in Columbus who commented in a patient survey, "He is a wonderful man. Not only is he an excellent doctor, but he also spends quality time with me," Vicki continued, "He remembers everything about my family and I feel like I can talk to him about anything. He always goes the extra mile." Rather than being an outlier at Central Ohio Primary Care (COPC), Vicki is the norm. In 2018, 95% of their senior patients underwent an annual wellness visit, a 10% increase over the year before and three-fold the national rate. Built into the physicians' schedules, this additional time with patients was made possible by a new reimbursement and care delivery model offered through a partnership with agilon health.
And patients aren't the only ones benefiting from this new model of care. “Our partnership on the agilon health platform has led to significant improvements across our practice – strong physician engagement, the implementation of network management strategies such as centralized referral management, new sites of care such as a high-risk clinic, and robust patient engagement – to name just a few,” said Bill Wulf, MD, CEO, COPC. “Our physicians can dedicate themselves to the care of their patients with the knowledge that our practice's new Medicare Advantage program, and consequently the practice itself, will grow and thrive.”
These improvements have delivered an industry-leading Net Promoter Score of 85 and demonstrate a continued record of extraordinary physician satisfaction.
“The promise of value-based care is reflected in the satisfaction of COPC physicians,” said Dr. Amy Nguyen Howell, chief medical officer at America's Physician Groups. “It offers the tools to increase time at the bedside while reducing the burden of paperwork. By embracing this model, COPC has invested not only in its physicians, but also in the patients and communities they serve.”
Despite published physician burnout rates ranging from 30 to 65 percent across specialties, with the highest rates incurred by physicians at the front lines of care, such as primary care, agilon health partner practices report high NPS across the board.
In 2018, agilon health partnered with Austin Regional Clinic, and Premier Physicians in Austin and Pioneer Network Physicians in Akron all of which report high NPS scores of 65, 66 and 76, respectively. Furthermore, 82% of the physicians responding to the survey at Pioneer Network Physicians, agilon health's partner practice in Akron, Ohio, indicated feeling professionally satisfied at least several times per week, and only a third felt professionally drained by their work.
“Daily physicians find themselves on the front lines of the transition from fee-for-service to high-quality value-based care. That transition generally carries with it a significant increase in administrative burden and can create a conflict between these demands and those elements of practice that reward a physician's professional knowledge, skill and independence. I fundamentally believe that practices must be positioned to make significant upfront investments in infrastructure and improvements in compensation models” said Ron Kuerbitz, CEO of agilon health. “These providers are doing a lot of work, but they're not seeing improvement in their quality of life or sustainability in the investments necessary to support the transition from fee-for-service to risk contracts.”
Kuerbitz continued, “This is especially prevalent in primary care. The systems in place simply aren't designed for physicians to be optimally effective. Physicians are managing patients in different lines of business, across numerous payers, in various reimbursement arrangements. The multiplicity of processes and the inability to change these circumstances is overwhelming and a catalyst for burnout. This is a key reason agilon health partnership practices report high Net Promoter Scores; our model simplifies practice workflow across health plan contracts, invests in advance of financial returns in infrastructure and physician incentives, and provides a platform for physicians to transform their practices under health plan arrangements that fully align the physician's professional needs of mastery and sense of purpose with the resource requirements for optimal care.”