Primary Care Space “It Is Changing”

It is a busy Saturday in a Dallas suburb. People are buzzing around the main intersection of the community. And, there is a new store opening. It has striking bright signage that announces that it is an urgent care center that delivers primary care. The property is big, modern and attractive! Down the through street is a shopping center based convenient care center. It also has great signage. And, there are a number of cars in the parking lot. PRIMARY CARE is the marque message. Over at CVS, there is a small work area staffed by a clinician/ANP that is available for primary needs. And, down the avenue is a Sam’s where at 11:00am today if you have a membership card and a few dollars, members can get a PSA test, general lab, diabetic assessment, etc. Plus, Sam’s also has a great clinic just down the road. Oh, yes…RXs at Sam’s are $4.00. Also, telemedicine has been transparently on the job all night long and is ready for a call this morning. Primary care is retailing!

In a less retail environment and further away, a big hospital and its professional buildings sit quietly. Many of the PCPs in that setting are employed. Not many are open for business today. But, the emergency department physicians and in-patient hospitalists are there for primary care. That is how it is in many neighborhoods. The primary care market space has changed…big time!

IPAs are engaged in this retailing of medicine. PDA would like to understand how the changes impact your practice. The organization wants very much to work with primary care providers who are being excluded and see their practice and profit margins changing beyond their control. Independent PCP physicians, as a rule are confining their PDA utility to the very needed tasks of credentialing, managing managed care contracts, and solving an occasional billing mess-up. Those services are well worth the cost of a good IPA. And, as managed care complexity grows, the value increases of traditional PDA services also increases. But, there is additional untapped potential for a band of professionals that can find other common interests and understand new opportunities.

Also, there is a significant management and deal structuring aspect of PDA. Due mostly to perception, it is rarely called on. PDA/ IPA membership is viewed as necessary, and reliably stable. PDA appreciates the loyalty immensely, but also invites members to consider how to create marketplace growth and margin expansion.

PDA is considering how to strike a nerve with the primary care cadre. Hopefully, the 2014 Clinically Integrated Organization alliance will be productive and develop into a major patient & revenue source. Also, the Flagship Physician Network has a successful demonstration model and is commercially moving its population management services forward. Both of these strategies can be major success avenues. But, most importantly is the search for physician leaders who see the PDA membership and management services organization as major potential for adapting to the changing marketplace. More to come…