LUGPA president: Association will stay vocal in 2020 and beyond

November 8, 2019

As health care reform and payment policies evolve, LUGPA is ensuring that independent urologists have a strong voice in Washington and the resources they need to sustain successful practices, said Richard G. Harris, MD, LUGPA president, at the association’s 2019 annual meeting in Chicago.

As health care reform and payment policies evolve, LUGPA is ensuring that independent urologists have a strong voice in Washington and the resources they need to sustain successful practices, said Richard G. Harris, MD, LUGPA president, at the association’s 2019 annual meeting in Chicago.

Originally named the Large Urology Group Practice Association when it was formed more than a decade ago, LUGPA is the nation’s only trade association for independent urologists and their practices.

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During his presidential address, Dr. Harris unveiled how the association aims to strengthen independent urology through its 3-year plan, which includes five strategic pillars. Specifically, LUGPA aims to:

• protect independent urology practice

• enhance leadership

• ease operational challenges

• increase member engagement

• ensure organizational excellence.

“Every one of our pillars helps practice groups and physicians achieve excellence,” said Dr. Harris, a urologist at UroPartners in Chicago.

 

Protecting independent practice

Dr. Harris credited LUGPA’s health policy and advocacy team for giving independent urologists a voice in Washington in recent months. He pointed to the proposed Stark Law reforms from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as LUGPA’s biggest success this year.

“We were heavily involved in trying to help change that,” he said.

Although specifics have yet to be released, Stark reforms would help independent urology practices participate in value-based payment models, he said.

In 2019, LUGPA representatives also had a productive meeting with administrators at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation on the proposed Medicare Radiation Oncology model, which would qualify as an alternative payment model under the CMS Quality Payment Program.

The association also continued to press CMS for site-neutral payments under the Outpatient Prospective Payment System.

“If the government and insurers truly want to save money, the future is with us,” Dr. Harris said, citing the potential cost savings associated with outpatient versus hospital care.

Next: Enhancing leadershipEnhancing leadership

To foster the next generation of leaders and help young urologists learn the business of medicine, LUGPA held its first full-day rising chief residents summit this past June. The event covered a variety of topics to help them transition to full-time practice, such as negotiating for a job, evaluating employment contracts, and managing finances, Dr. Harris said.

Dr. Harris also provided an update on LUGPA Forward, the association’s leadership development initiative for urologists in practice for less than 15 years. Established in 2017, the initiative now includes more than 400 young professionals. “They bring a tremendous amount of energy, vision, creativity, and new ideas,” Dr. Harris said.

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He also unveiled a new leadership development program for physicians and administrators that will include in-person and online education.

 

Other goals

During his presidential address, Dr. Harris described several projects that LUGPA plans to pursue during the next 3 years, including a benchmarking program and salary survey, to ease members’ operational challenges and ensure organizational excellence.

And even though member engagement was strong in 2019, LUGPA aims to add even more strategies to get practices involved in 2020 and beyond, Dr. Harris said.

“We don’t want this to be just a select group of individuals who are running this,” he said. “We want it to be as open as possible… and get as [much] broad-based involvement as we can from physicians and administrators.”