Pediatric Independent Practice Association (PIPA) is a general (primary) pediatric organization. PIPA comprises nearly 150 pediatricians who practice independently, either solo or in group practices. PIPA’s initial business plan was to work toward clinical integration and work to educate both commercial payers and TennCare using the messenger model to legally discuss contracting without violating anti-trust laws. PIPA was set up to work as a pediatric organization whose business plan was to use the messenger model in talking with insurance companies regarding reimbursement (as independent groups), but to stay as a collaborative group of pediatricians in building a “model” to share best practice methods and find other ways to reduce costs while maintaining quality of care for the Greater Memphis Pediatric Community.
PIPA’s board of directors and the members of PIPA have always had the vision of being a group of proactive pediatricians who make a difference in the community. We soon learned that many of the insurance companies, including the Managed Care Organizations of TennCare were not really interested in saving money and improving healthcare in the pediatric community, but to limit the dollars they paid providers.
PIPA would meet with the various carriers to demonstrate (and substantiate the carriers data) that indeed primary care pediatricians could make a big difference through prevention and care management while holding down the expensive cost of unnecessary emergency room departments and unneeded hospital admissions.
Pediatricians understand integrated care and have for a number of years before it became a “buzz word.” In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics was the first group of physicians to look at patient-centered medical homes before it got the label.
The past three years (with emphasis on the past two years) PIPA revised their business model to move away from a messenger model IPA to insuring that the infrastructure was in place in moving toward a more comprehensive clinical model. PIPA already had been recognized through literature, and in other areas of the country this IPA should be prepared for healthcare reform in whichever “flavor” it were to come out. As mentioned earlier PIPA had already been implementing and building an infrastructure for pediatric clinical integration. Over 60 percent of the pediatricians in PIPA had installed electronic health records or were in various forms of implementation. Some groups had already started in the development of electronic patient portals for communication between patient/parent. (I have always felt that pediatricians are more collaborative and more engaging because of their two main constituents; child/patient and the parents). Because of the commitment of the pediatric members of PIPA there is more willingness to collaborate.
PIPA is involved with both the City and County Mayors with their prevention and wellness initiatives. PIPA sits in on these initiatives and also participates with the Healthy Memphis Common Table. Here are some other initiatives and projects under way for the children of the Greater Memphis Area.
- The continuation to assist other pediatricians in adoption of EHRs
- The continuation in the adoption and use of technology
- The continuation of data gathering to support quality and cost savings initiatives
- The continuation of advocating to both local, state and national advocacy for better health care policy
- Life-long learning and education for providers and particularly for patients
- Collaboration in demonstrating to both government payers and commercial payers through data the savings and quality of healthcare for the community of our children
- Continuation in initiatives and projects such as:
- Childhood Asthma, Autism, Obesity, Diabetes, particularly early onset of type2 Diabetes, Hypertension and others
Pediatric Independent Practice Association, is an independent general pediatric organization but recognizes the importance of being proactive and collaborating with other pediatric providers of this community. To borrow a phrase from another Children’s Organization in Memphis, “Promising to do everything in our power to keep children safe and healthy.”
Bill Appling, MBA, FACMPE, is president of Watkins Uiberall Health Care Consulting. He has faculty appointments at the University of Memphis in the Fogelman College of Economics and Business, where he teaches in the Masters of Health Care Administration program.