The Wayne State University Physician Group, whose 2,000 members provide medical care, conduct groundbreaking research and help train and educate the next generation of medical leaders, and Rochester-based Medical Network One, a 750-member physician organization and provider of comprehensive health management support programs and interventions, announce a new contractual arrangement effective March 1, 2011, that sets the groundwork for an Organized System of Care and ultimately the formation of a joint Accountable Care Organization.

“Collaboration among health care providers is critical to enhance the overall health and well-being of southeast Michigan,” said Valerie M. Parisi, M.D., dean of the Wayne State School of Medicine and president of the Wayne State physician group. “This endeavor between Medical Network One and WSUPG supports our core missions of providing access to high quality and affordable care to millions of patients every year.”

Wea Matuszewki, CEO of Medical Network One, added that the philosophies of the two physician groups are similar.

“This agreement between two well-established physician groups with a shared community focus allows us to collaborate and reach a level of mutual gain that ultimately benefits our patient base with health care services that offer quality, value and cost sensitivity,” Matuszewski said. “Medical Network One will be able to align itself with Wayne State University’s School of Medicine and Physician Group leaders, including some of the world’s most sought-after specialists, creating new teaching and research opportunities for our physician members.”

Kenneth P. Lee, WSUPG executive director, noted that the deal means his group “gains knowledge from Medical Network One about the practice transformation process, including training the primary care workforce foundation that supports the delivery of clinical services, benchmarking infrastructure solutions needed for the rapidly changing practice of medicine and access to Medical Network One programs such as the Community Care Travel Team.” 

The opportunity to blend the skill sets of the two organizations was prompted in large part by the awareness and desire of primary care physicians to transform into certified patient-centered medical homes and create Organized Systems of Care, one of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan initiatives currently under way.

As OSCs mature, it is anticipated they will lay the groundwork for physician groups to form Accountable Care Organizations as required by national health care reform. ACOs are provider groups responsible for the cost and quality of care delivered to a specific patient population and are largely founded on physician practices that ultimately may be organized as patient-centered medical homes. Many ACOs will also include hospitals, home health agencies and nursing homes, as well as other delivery organizations.

The joint Accountable Care Organization envisioned by WSUPG and Medical Network One is a virtual ACO. That is, it will not be connected to a specific hospital or health system nor require a hospital or health system exclusivity agreement for physician members, although ACO rules requiring primary care physicians to belong to only one ACO do apply.

“The planned OSC framework currently under discussion by Blue Cross acknowledges that there needs to be an innovative foundation in place,” Matuszewski said. “It’s a step-by-step process. What is certain is that ACOs are creating opportunities for physicians to be responsible for their own destiny, allowing infrastructures that are not driven by health plans or health systems. We will have a strong primary care physician base in which physicians have access to a variety of quality institutions that provide superior care with excellent outcomes for the specific health care services being sought.”

The new alliance is based on trust and respect garnered from an existing relationship between the two physician groups that began in 2008, with Medical Network One delivering diabetes self-management education programs to several WSUPG-staffed clinics and care management programs and providing practice liaisons to the WSU Family Medicine Residency Program housed at Crittenton Hospital in Rochester.

“We have a track record of success in projects we developed collaboratively over the past three years, and that gives both organizations a solid comfort level as we enter into this expanded arrangement,” said Al Juocys, D.O., chief medical officer and president, Medical Network One.

Wayne State University Physician Group is one of southeast Michigan’s largest non-profit multi-specialty physician practice groups, with more than 2,000 physicians providing primary and specialty medical services in close to 1 million patient visits annually. WSUPG has more than 100 locations, and affiliations with the Detroit Medical Center, Oakwood Healthcare System, Karmanos Cancer Center, Crittenton Hospital Medical Center, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland and St. John Providence Health System. As faculty members of the Wayne State University School of Medicine, WSUPG’s physicians and staff are on the forefront of technology and bringing the latest in medical advancements to the bedside. In addition to its substantial clinical practice, WSUPG is training the Michigan physicians of tomorrow by providing instructors for more than 1,200 medical students and 900 residents each year.

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Celebrating 30 years in 2011, Medical Network One and its chronic conditions management division, the Michigan Institute for Health Enhancement, develop and deliver outcomes-driven wellness and self-management health programs, such as the proprietary Community Care Travel Team, in conjunction with physicians, clinicians, nurses, allied health professionals, employers and corporate health partners. Additionally, Medical Network One offers administrative support services to physicians throughout Michigan and in Ohio.

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