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



  1. bruce suzuki says:

    As a physician , I have always felt I was serving the broad community, which is constituted by people/patients who have sought medical care from physicians with varying hospital affiliations. Current conditions of the medical business environment are making the physicians working with a number of hospital organizations to ‘choose’ one over the other. How is this environment helping patients make their choice/s in medical care? Hospitals have already gone out and hired the primary care physicians, who dictate the referral designees….This monopolistic approach would seem to be counter to American values of fair competition. I would hope those in roles of making policy via monopolistic business practices recognize they are /have created an environment in which practitioners and their patients are given less than a fair opportunity to compete and choose. I believe much of the pressure to ‘pick’ a winner hospital system stems from the inability for the insurance /payor data bases to adequately attribute work of individual physicians who participate in care of patients at more than one institution. The lack of granularity of their ‘billing’ instruments has ‘created’ their problems, which they seek to cure by way of making the physician pick a partner.
    Therefore a solution to the issue would seem to be creating of a framework allowing the preferred templates for care…like criteria for imaging/lab tests/ medications…which could be used depending on the patient’s insurance information. As many of the patients don’t even know they are in aco’s or certain hospital group entities, a designation on their insurance card which would tell the physician what the patient can do with their care under their terms of service would be beneficial…also, establishing a system for accessing of lab and other essential information outside of their corporate firewalls would be beneficial in avoiding corporations from using their dominant positions in bullying the less powerful….which used to be a basic tenet of The United States of America.

    I am not an activist, but do see concentrating the power in medical care to a few companies, which are not only large in this state, but also in the world, is becoming more of a problem.

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