2013 MMS Interim Meeting Opens With Call to Protect Smaller Practices
Massachusetts Medical Society President Ronald Dunlap, M.D. opened the 2013 Interim Meeting with a call for the organization to support small and mid-sized physician practices during an unprecedented push towards clinical and financial alignment statewide.
“I believe that if a physician or a practice wants to maintain a meaningful degree of professional autonomy, they should be able to do so. Becoming employed by a large system is not for everyone,” said Dr. Dunlap in his President’s Report to the MMS House of Delegates. “In fact, it is not even necessary.”
Oversight may be needed to ensure that hospitals continue to maintain relationships with affiliated, as well as employed physicians, and do not attempt to use their market power to dictate terms to independent physician groups, Dr. Dunlap said.
The MMS plans to continue its outreach on clinical integration challenges facing physicians this into the coming year, Dr. Dunlap said. The Society’s Physicans Guide to ACOs, created earlier this year, has become one of the most popular documents ever posted on the MMS website.
“We will work hard on the advocacy front to ensure that the rules of the game give everyone the opportunity to be successful — to ensure that we’re not all stuffed into a single model that cannot possible work for everyone,” said Dr. Dunlap.
More than 150 physician HOD representatives traveled from around the state to Waltham on Dec. 6 for the two-day Interim Meeting. They will vote on a number of formal resolutions, and craft MMS policy for the coming year.
The Delegates also welcomed Aron Boros, Executive Director of the Center for Health Information and Analysis, a state agency created to collect and distribute meaningful health care cost data under Chapter 224, the payment reform law of 2012.
“The chief health care complaint in Massachusetts truly is affordability,” Boros said. The cost of health care in Massachusetts is well above the national average because of a complex delivery system that withholds information about price and cost from patients and physicians, he said.
The lack of accurate and meaningful data on outcomes and provider quality means the health care system is too often treated like an “all-you-can-eat buffet.”
Beginning in 2015, Boros said, CHIA and the state’s Health Policy Commission will become directly involved with health plans and providers whose health care costs grow faster than the state’s economic growth rate of 3.6 percent annually.
-- Erica Noonan