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In his latest blog post, urologist Neal D. Shore, MD, discusses LUGPA's recent expansion to include independent practices of five or more physicians.
|Neal D. Shore, MD||Dr. Shore is medical director of Carolina Urologic Research Center, Myrtle Beach, SC and current President-elect,|
In recent years, the rapidly evolving health care landscape has provided challenges to physicians dedicated to the independent practice of medicine. Given the relative economic and competitive advantages enjoyed by hospitals and health care systems, such groups have had varying degrees of success in navigating these challenges.
However, recent data suggests that high-quality health care is delivered most cost-effectively outside the hospital setting, which illustrates that the role of independent medicine should expand in the future. Importantly, physicians will require critical new skill sets and resources to overcome hurdles and develop preparedness critical for the sustainability of their practices. LUGPA, a professional association representing more than 20% of the nation’s urologists, has committed itself to providing member practices the necessary resources to optimize patient care championed within the independent and integrated health care setting.
Until recently, LUGPA had limited its membership to “large” groups, as defined as 10 or more physician colleagues. Notably, as the association has successfully expanded, it has become clear that the delivery of integrated care is not necessarily related to group size. In some markets, smaller independent practices have a meaningful impact on medical care in their community.
Just as independent urologists nationwide significantly contribute to medical care in their communities, physician practices of all sizes are on the front lines of both regulatory and market forces that have historically challenged the existence of health care delivered within the independent setting. Moreover, independent practices are also poised to succeed under new models of coordinated care and value-based medicine. That’s why it makes sense-both for LUGPA and its current members as well as smaller independent practices that are not yet LUGPA members-for the association to expand to include independent practices of all sizes.
NEXT: Benefits include practice admin. support, policy insight
Since the founding of LUGPA in 2008, “traditional” LUGPA member groups have benefitted from their affiliation by receiving a variety of clinical and administrative multidisciplinary tools that enhance the patient care they provide and also fortify their administrative and policy models. Under the revised membership criteria, independent practices with five or more physicians will now be able to access important content on topics including (but not limited to):
Managing a successful independent urology practice hinges first and foremost on the quality of patient care provided; LUGPA provides state-of-the-art data on physician decision making, practice management benchmarking, and clinical data integration to its members.
LUGPA also promotes and encourages knowledge sharing as well as integrative networking amongst its diverse membership, which totals approximately 2,000 physicians. Opportunities for members to engage their peers are offered in person, at LUGPA’s annual meeting in Chicago, and, commencing in 2016, at planned regional LUGPA meetings that will also be available on the LUGPA member website. The value of LUGPA meetings is evidenced by growth: The annual meeting held in November 2014 was the largest to date; in 2015, the meeting will be held at a larger venue to accommodate LUGPA’s growing membership.
In addition to assisting our membership on how to enhance the delivery of value-based urologic care in the independent practice setting, LUGPA also develops resources and best practices for members to use when communicating with existing and prospective patients through a variety of instruments, including digital and social media platforms. For example, LUGPA’s ongoing Your Numbers Matter campaign helps develop physician-patient conversation and decision making, thereby raising awareness of PSA testing, active surveillance, and risk stratification. By associating men’s PSA number with other important health information and metrics, participating member practices have increased their engagement with patients on important health decisions and treatments.
NEXT: "A robust health policy agenda"
As data continues to mount supporting the notion that the health care model of independent and coordinated care provides both tangible and non-tangible value to both patients and associated health care providers, the independent practice of medicine is under assault from those seeking to advance hospital-based care. Hence, LUGPA has developed a robust health policy agenda dedicated to protecting and advancing independent, integrated patient care at the federal level. These efforts extend beyond Capitol Hill to regulatory agencies such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, the Government Accountability Office, and the Congressional Budget Office.
Importantly, LUGPA understands the value of regularly providing its members with up-to-date information. LUGPA’s weekly media monitor delivers news and information to urologists that is unique-and tailored to the independent physician-from other society or association news round-ups. Our reccurring member e-blasts also deliver vital information, association updates, significant research developments, and health policy news updates relevant to urologists committed to the independent practice of urology.
The independent practice of medicine has historically demonstrated clinical, economic, and personalized patient value. As health care delivery systems evolve, LUGPA looks forward to working with a growing number of independent urology practices to nurture the ongoing viability of the independent practice of urology and ensure our patients continue to have access to high-quality, cost-effective care at the site of their own choosing.
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