Sisters of Charity Health System Creates Safe Haven for Independent Physicians

12/6/2010

Cleveland, OH — Dec. 06, 2010 — Sisters of Charity Health System, a faith-based organization, announced today the launch of its subsidiary, Independent Physician Solutions (IPS), to offer Northeast Ohio independent physicians a continuum of services, including revenue cycle management, electronic medical records (EMR), managed care contracting and a suite of a la carte consulting services for practice operations and financial management.
“What is different about IPS is that we are a physician-led organization, which will offer  an equity model that physicians can invest in if they so choose and a governance structure that will have more than 50 percent of the board comprised of physicians,” said Orlando L. Alvarez, Jr., IPS CEO and Sisters of Charity Health System senior vice president for physician alignment.
Through a unique market arrangement with GE Healthcare, IPS will offer General Electric’s Centricity® Practice Solution offering as its EMR solution.  The selection of this product included a robust vetting process that involved physicians from across all Sisters of Charity Health System markets as well as a physician advisory committee comprised of independent physicians.
The technology will position independent medical practitioners to demonstrate meaningful use in order to receive federal incentives as well as provide them with efficiencies and other benefits of practicing in an electronic environment. Additionally, IPS will allow independent medical practitioners to maintain their independence while keeping pace with larger, affiliated practices and meeting the new technology requirements mandated under the Affordable Care Act of 2010. IPS will also provide billing and collections services and hopes to organize physicians into an Independent Practice Association (IPA) in order to develop clinical integration strategies and group contract opportunities with health care insurance companies and other payors.
The Sisters of Charity Health System’s investment includes securing a talented management team led by Mark Wiedt, IPS president and chief operating officer. Wiedt most recently served as CEO of the largest independent multi-specialty physician group in Northeast Ohio. With decades of experience in managing physician practices, Wiedt and his team will lead the operations of the physician-focused organization.
The long-term goal of IPS is to position its physicians for the inevitable changes in health care as a result of new reimbursement models and health care reform legislation. With its technology infrastructure, IPS will be able to tackle the challenges of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and other population management models.
In spite of national trends, Northeast Ohio has a large number of independent physicians who have yet to become employed by hospital systems.
“It is really about strategy,” continued Alvarez. “We believe that independent doctors who wish to remain independent need to partner with organizations whose goal is not to control their patient records or gobble them up in an employment model. Our goal is to create a ‘safe haven’ for the independent physician and garner the collaboration of physicians who share our faith-based mission.”
IPS is aggressively recruiting from a pool of more than 4,000 independent physicians in Northeast Ohio to make them aware that they have options that will enable their practices to remain truly independent.
“My partnership with IPS provides my practice the support and expertise I need, without giving up my autonomy,” said Gregory Hall, M.D., internal medicine. “It allows me to continue doing what’s best for my patients without feeling controlled.”
Dr. Hall understands all too well the pressure that independent physicians are feeling to quickly become compliant with the pending health care reform requirements, which often means sacrificing their independence.“
Many of us own practices that are small businesses, and we have been very successful for years in treating our patients and managing our books,” continued Hall. “But with new EMR requirements, some physicians are overwhelmed with the adoption process and feel they have no choice but to completely affiliate with a large health system that can help them with new technology requirements. Now Northeast Ohio physicians have an option that actually encourages their independence.”
“We have a long legacy of collaboration and partnership with our independent physicians,” said Sister Judith Ann Karam, CSA, president and CEO, Sisters of Charity Health System. “We made it part of our faith-based mission to invest in this very important initiative to help ensure the high-quality and efficiency of health care in Northeast Ohio.”
About Sisters of Charity Health System
The Sisters of Charity Health System was established in 1982 as the parent corporation for the sponsored ministries of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine in Ohio and South Carolina. The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, since its founding in 1851, continue their faith-based legacy of high-quality, compassionate care in partnership with its co-ministers who are the heart and hands of the ministry.
The Sisters of Charity Health System solely owns four Catholic hospitals: St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in Cleveland, Mercy Medical Center in Canton, Providence Hospital and Providence Northeast in Columbia, South Carolina. In a joint venture with University Hospitals of Cleveland, the Sisters of Charity Health System also sponsors St. John Medical Center in Westlake, Ohio. The organization also oversees three grant-making foundations located in Cleveland and Canton, Ohio, and Columbia, South Carolina. Each foundation sponsors significant community initiatives and collaborations that address causes and consequences of poverty. Other health and human services and education-related organizations within the Sisters of Charity Health System include Cleveland’s Joseph’s Home, a unique residential care center for homeless men; Canton’s Early Childhood Resource Center, for people working in childcare in all settings; and Healthy Learners, a South Carolina health care resource for children from low-income families. The Sisters of Charity Health System also provides residential eldercare services at Regina Health Center in Richfield, Ohio, and Light of Hearts Villa in Bedford, Ohio. Light of Hearts Villa is jointly sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. More information is available at www.sistersofcharityhealth.org.
About Independent Physician Solutions
Independent Physician Solutions (IPS) is a physician-led organization providing a robust continuum of services that enable independent physicians to meet their competitive and regulatory requirements while preserving the entrepreneurial practice of medicine. A ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, IPS is on the web at www.independentphysiciansolutions.com.

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