ARIZONA PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS LAUNCHES VALLEY’S LARGEST INDEPENDENT PRIMARY CARE MEDICAL GROUP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Peoria, Arizona (September 8, 2015) – In response to the rapidly changing health care environment, over 75 independent primary care physicians in more than 32 different physical locations across the Valley have joined forces to create the largest independent primary care medical group in the Valley. Arizona Primary Care Physicians, LLC (APC) brings together family practice, internal medicine, and pediatric physicians in a clinically integrated, physician owned and governed group practice focused on the patient.
The health care system is undergoing a fundamental change. As new patient-centric health caremodels emerge that focus on improved clinical outcomes and reduced costs, primary carephysicians are being heralded as the central players in this new and evolving health care system.Primary care physicians in Arizona, however, have not been effectively positioned to grasp this opportunity and responsibility due, in part, to the way in which they are organized.
The average independent primary care practice in the Valley has less than three physicians which leads to inefficiency and inability to make the investments that are necessary. Additionally,primary care physicians face a myriad of new challenges including: increasing costs, investmentsin information technology, higher levels of staffing, and new accountabilities in quality outcomesthat require clinical tracking systems. At the same time their reimbursement and income flowsare being threatened. APC formed to address these challenges.
APC’s pioneering clinical and business model is uniquely designed to meet the challenges posed to primary care physicians. “This is a new dawn for primary care physicians and their patients inArizona,” said President Dr. Adam Nally. “APC brings together like-minded physicians focused on transforming the business of sick care into a population health model aimed at improving the health status of our patients while reducing the costs of health care overall.”
In order for independent primary care physicians to be relevant in the new health care environment they need to: be able to compete with larger entities such as hospitals, health systems and payers to attract quality providers; be able to grow in order to support the infrastructure and sophistication required to manage the health of populations and not just respond to sick care needs; be able to demonstrate value to the purchasers of health care –defined as enhanced quality at a lower overall cost; build systems of care for the providers to enable them to focus on providing the highest levels of service to their patients; and build a business model that is sustainable and viable to facilitate the preservation of what many physicians hold dearest – the clinical and business autonomy to serve their patients.
“As both physicians and owners,” said Vice President, Dr. Graeme Tolson, “our physicians arecommitted to providing the best possible medical care, while at the same time recognizing theneed to strengthen independent practices, continuing and expanding the historic role of theprimary care physician. Unlike other options,” Dr. Tolson continued, “our providers are notemployees. Our providers are owners, gaining the benefits of a large group practice, yetcontinuing to operate as distinct small practices as divisions of APC. This allows APC to providethe breadth of services necessary to meet the demands of the purchasers of health care whilecontinuing to offer an intimate community-based personal care experience that provides the highlevel of service that our patients have come to expect and deserve.”
In the Phoenix market, the options for primary care physicians to ensure long term viability and sustainability given the demands of health care reform have been predominately offered by hospitals, health systems, government agencies and payors. While these alternatives are viableand provide some economic stability for primary care physicians it requires physicians to give upwhat they treasure the most - independent practice where in most cases it is their business thatthey have built over years and are their own boss - and become employees. This loss ofautonomy and influence is challenging to most physicians. What primary care physicians havebeen missing is a viable option to remain independent, but in a business and clinical model thatensures enhanced efficiencies, competitiveness, expanded population health organizationalcapabilities as well as access to operating and capital resources. Within APC, primary care physicians remain independent but with a new level of interdependency with like-minded peers in the market to achieve scale, efficiency, enhanced quality and shared investment in the future.
APC is continuing its rapid growth throughout the Valley and Arizona. “APC’s goal is to growfrom our current 76 providers and 32 locations to more than 250 with over 100 locations acrossthe Valley, and ultimately the State. This includes launching numerous integrated diagnostic ancillary centers. APC is not an East Valley or West Valley medical group, but rather APC willbe statewide group, offering a population health-based primary care provider solution to ourpayer partners,” said Executive Vice President, Dr. Brian Riveland who is also the President ofone of APC’s largest operating divisions – Thunderbird Internal Medicine, a group of eighteen(18) primary care physicians. “We look forward to partnering with other primary care providersin providing maximum performance, and in the end, being a part of building a healthiercommunity. APC is the missing piece of health care options for providers in Arizona.”
APC allows primary care providers that wish to remain independent to do so - but not be alone.In the APC model, an existing primary care physician group joins APC under the single APC taxidentification number as a group practice with multiple locations. The joining physiciancontinues to run their own practice in their existing location as an operating division of APC but leverages the efficiencies of a large group practice – including an enterprise wide practice management system, electronic medical record, group purchasing, integrated payor contracting,shared payroll platform, lower malpractice costs, enhanced benefits for staff, and access to shared population health resources.
“The mission of APC is to ‘Empower our patients and providers to thrive’ and our vision is to be Arizona’s premier partner in health,” said President Dr. Nally. “This is our not only a writtenproclamation, but is what drives us every day as primary care physicians and business leaders.APC uniquely combines the autonomy of independent practice with the advantages of being alarge medical group. We think this uniquely positions us to be great partners for patients,providers and payers.”
Arizona Primary Care Physicians, LLC is a physician-owned, physician-governed, clinically integrated, professionally managed independent primary care group practice formed to deliver world-class medical care and population health solutions in concert with strategic partners across Arizona.
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Other industries have experienced similar levels of consolidation forcing evolution or extinction.A model not dissimilar in strategic approach that APC has undertaken is that of Wintrust Financial in the banking industry. Changing regulatory requirements and the advancement intechnology forced significant consolidation that all but does away with the small regional banks.In response to this, and to meet certain consumers “wants”, new banking models have emerged.Wintrust Financial in the Midwest is one such example. Wintrust differentiated themselves fromits megabank competitors by forming a parent organization that local community banks own thatprovides for efficiency, scale and access to capital. Together, the various community banks wereable to consolidate capital reserves, share investments in necessary technology, and provideproducts and services that allow them to compete with the large conglomerates – whiledifferentiating them by meeting the local needs of their clients. This model allows the owners of Wintrust to continue to provide community-oriented, personal and commercial banking services to customers while their “big bank” competitors become more and more impersonal. Wintrust built a model where they are big enough to provide the resources of a “big bank” but are “small enough to care”.
APC is similarly launching an equivalent model for primary care in Arizona - building a business model that is owned by the primary care physicians that allows for shared investment in necessary technology and infrastructure while enhancing efficiencies. This new approach will ensure that the primary care physician’s individual practices remain viable and relevant during this period of broad health care consolidation. Through APC, patients can experience the benefits of a large organization with the differentiation of being “small enough to care” and convenient enough to access.