VBC best practices: Engaging independent docs restrains cost

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Jack Towsley is passionate about minimizing the cost of healthcare in Texas, and the important role that physicians will play in making that happen. As the divisional senior vice president of Texas healthcare delivery for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, he is responsible for all provider network strategy in Texas, including fee-for-service negotiations, development of new value-based care models, and delivery of ancillary contracting.

At Health Data Management's inaugural Best Practices in Value-Based Care (September 21 and 22 in Dallas, Towsley will talk about "Mending Relationships Between Providers and Payers to Make Value Based Care Successful."

Why are independent physicians so important to the transformation of healthcare delivery?
Data shows that independent physicians provide care at a lower total cost than hospital-affiliated physicians.

According to a 2014 study by the Journal of American Medical Association, total spending per patient is 10.3 percent higher for hospital-owned physician offices, compared with doctor-owned organizations.

Costs are even higher when large health systems are running multiple hospital-owned medical groups. Their per-patient spending was 19.8 percent higher when compared with independent physician groups.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas has introduced a collaboration with the Texas Medical Association, the largest medical society in the US, called TMA PracticeEdge. How does this partnership contribute to value-based care?
TMA PracticeEdge enables independent doctors, who make up two-thirds of Texas' physician workforce, to engage in value based care.

This collaboration offers turnkey solutions to strengthen these independent physicians, manage population health and improve the financial viability of medical practices. TMA PracticeEdge currently supports multiple Accountable Care Organizations serving more than 40,000 patients across Texas, with more than 200 independent physicians utilizing the program.

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