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Local physician groups join forces

April 25, 2013

The city’s two largest physician groups have established an independent physicians association in an effort to reduce future costs and provide better patient care.

Colorado Springs Health Partners and Mountain View Medical Group are not merging, but will share back office data systems and more patient/physician information, establish a Nurse Navigators division and divide the future cost of expenses induced by the Affordable Health Care Act.

The group, called Colorado Innovative Physician Solutions, has spent around $500,000 on computer data analytical systems that let physicians share patient data.  

“The result is that it is improving the quality of our care and lowering the cost,” said Dennis Schneider, chief medical officer at Colorado Springs Health Partners

Colorado Spring Health Partners is a multi-specialist group that is two-thirds primary care and family practice physicians. It also includes pediatrics, cardiologist, neurologists, urologists and other specialists.

Mountain View Medical Group is predominantly primary care physicians but also includes OBGYNs. The two groups already share some information about patients treated at both Memorial Hospital and Penrose-St. Francis Health Services.

One of the first steps is the creation of the Nurse Navigators system. The program is intended to help patients’ transitions from the hospital to the home, said David Hoover, a pediatrician and president of Mountain View Medical Group.

Hoover said Colorado Innovative Physician Solutions will hire additional RNs and higher level nurses and case managers to track patients sent home after surgery or other treatments to ensure they have the right medications, food in their houses and a return post-surgical appointment.

Tracking post-surgical patients can reduce the number of those who return to hospital, said Bonnie Angotti, executive director of Colorado Innovative Physicians Solutions.

“Patients with chronic illnesses that come in and out of the hospitals do not always understand everything, or wait until an illness is exacerbated and then come back into the hospital,” she said.

Schneider said post-surgical patients’ safety depends on close coordination of care after their hospitalization until they return to see their doctor.

“There is a danger period there where things can happen,” he said. “So the handoff from the outpatient area must be smooth and kept at a higher level.”

The cooperation will save the two groups money by eliminating the need to purchase two of every future computer system needed to meet the requirements of the Affordable Health Care Act, Angotti said

The cooperation between the two medical groups is also expected to produce better patient care by establishing a coordinated care model, Schneider said.

“The way health care is right now, you go see a doctor, somewhere, anywhere, and it is fragmented care and does not produce the best outcomes,” he said. “The coordinated care model, where you have a primary care doctor that assists you navigate the system, gives you better care at lower costs, which is what everybody wants nowadays.”

Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275.

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