Three Independent Practice Associations Combine Resources to Form the New Allied Pacific IPA
Alhambra-based Allied Physicians of California IPA (Independent Practice Association) completed a merger with two other groups, Physicians’ Healthways IPA and Pacific IPA, which resulted in a new entity under the name of Allied Pacific IPA that has 2,000 physicians serving over 250,000 members in San Gabriel Valley. There are 500,000 members in seven counties in Southern and Central California.
Kenneth Sim, MD, chairman, Board of Directors Allied Pacific IPA and co-chairman, Board of Directors Network Medical Management, told PNN that in October 2014 Allied Physicians merged with Pacific IPA and now all three IPAs have come together. The goal is to consolidate resources and create a viable entity that will enable independent physicians to remain in private medicine and be competitive in the market where economies of scale and access to new technologies are the key.
“The market is changing so fast that every time you look around something new is happening. Business models are evolving, there are mergers, acquisitions, everything is changing so quickly,” Dr. Sim said. The government is driving the changes and this is nothing new, according to Dr. Sim, but the willingness of physicians to come out of their individual silos and work together to survive is new.
From the Health Maintenance Organization Act that President Richard Nixon signed into law in 1973, to the Affordable Care Act of today, the pressure is to contain costs while encouraging better management of care for the patients. But you can no longer do it without having the resources to take advantage of the new technologies that will bring healthcare to the level consumers expect in all other industries, Dr. Sim said.
In the past Allied Physicians IPA, Pacific Physicians IPA and Physicians’ Healthways IPA competed with each other for patients. No one wanted to talk to each other, Dr. Sim noted. This is no longer a viable model going forward. “Instead of competing we decided to come together and collaborate so we can survive together.”
New technology and innovation will be key, but individual doctors do not have resources or even time to learn about them, yet alone implement them. Yet it is technology that will be the biggest game changer and differentiator. Information technology implementation, population health management and home monitoring are the biggest challenges, Dr. Sim said. There are ideas and products out in the market, but most physicians don’t know about them and don’t have time to find out. As a group, he said, there will be opportunities and resources to address that lack.
“Patient care in the future will require greater investments in technology and other innovations. Consolidation is a way to free up economic resources that can be better invested in doctors and in the clinical management systems that take better care of patients. This is smart. This is the future: Dr. Sim’s is a novel and innovative model of exceptional clinical care that has proved scalable,” Pedram Salimpour, MD, president of the Los Angeles County Medical Association, told PNN.