Competing in the Marketplace
Improving quality and value through medical practice integration
The rapidly evolving health care marketplace has imposed significant financial, administrative, regulatory and other burdens on physician practices. Many of these burdens can only be alleviated through some form of physician integration. The AMA has developed a resource to help physicians evaluate their integration options: “Competing in the Marketplace: How physicians can improve quality and increase their value in the health care market through medical practice integration, second edition.”
This resource describes a range of integration possibilities which address the desire of many physicians to retain some level of autonomy while also acknowledging the realities of today’s marketplace. “Competing in the Marketplace” provides a practical and pragmatic overview of integration strategies—not just mergers, but a variety of other contractual arrangements—that are available to physicians. Physicians may review the benefits and drawbacks of these integration strategies in order to select the one which most closely fits their goals.
The AMA also recognizes that physician integration efforts sometimes implicate antitrust laws. Accordingly, “Competing in the Marketplace” identifies antitrust concerns that may arise when physicians seek to jointly negotiate fees with payers, and describes how the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) apply the antitrust laws to joint fee negotiations. The resource is also designed to point out possible antitrust pitfalls implicated by differing integration options, and to outline the types of arrangements that are acceptable under the antitrust laws, as currently interpreted by the FTC and DOJ.