Medical societies aim to save independent practices but not the status quo

With practices facing increasing pressures to become part of hospital systems, three medical societies in Texas have teamed up to help the state's doctors fight for their independence, Family Medical News reported.

The Physician Services Organization for Patient Care, a joint effort of the Texas Medical Association (TMA), along with the Dallas and Harris County medical societies, launched in May to provide physicians with the "survival tools" they need to meet challenges, such as pressure to adopt electronic health records, implement ICD-10, and mine quality data.

While the organization aims to help small practices access resources and capital that would be difficult to attain on their own, the goal is not to preserve the status quo, Dr. C. Bruce Malone, a past president of TMA, orthopedic surgeon, and member of the physician services organization task force, told Family Practice News. "We're trying to create a situation where doctors can get together and create some kind of clinical integration. I don't think there's any question that in the future integration of the clinical practice will be the trend."

Now that the TMA has put up seed money to start the organization, the next step will be to choose partners among technology vendors, insurers and hospitals that can either provide tools to practices or aid in pilot projects, Malone said. There will not be a fee to join the new organization, he added, but physicians who participate in pilot projects may need to invest in practice improvements.

The formation of the physician services organization in Texas is "very encouraging," said Paul B. Ginsburg, Ph.D., president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, a nonpartisan policy research organization, noting that independent practice associations in Massachusetts and California have already succeeded in helping physicians stay independent.

To learn more:
- read the article from Family Practice News

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