A new medical group has been formed in North Carolina to support community physicians in their transition to value-based care through a clinically integrated network model, to improve patient outcomes and to provide practice management support.
That is the aim of Privia Medical Group—North Carolina, a collaboration between Privia Health and Novant Health Enterprises, a division of Novant Health whose existing network includes more than 1,800 physicians providing care at 15 hospitals and more than 800 locations in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
The partnership with Novant comes in addition to a similar arrangement announced a few months earlier with the 12-hospital OhioHealth system based in Columbus, and it adds to the national footprint of Arlington, Virginia-based Privia Health, which includes more than 3,500 physicians and other health professionals in over 920 practice locations across California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Montana, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Privia Health is a member of the AMA Health System Program, which provides enterprise solutions to equip leadership, physicians and care teams with resources to help drive the future of medicine.
Building a new network
Under the arrangement, Novant Health is acting as Privia’s “anchor partner.” While the Winston-Salem-based system’s network includes more than 1,800 physicians, Privia Medical Group—North Carolina will be starting as a brand new organization.
“What we look for in our anchors is obviously a great reputation and great relationships with physicians, patients, payers and other stakeholders in the market,” said Mike Flammini, Privia’s chief business development officer.
The partnership with Privia fits in well with the goals of the newly launched Novant Health Enterprises, which seeks to foster relationships such as joint ventures and investments that can help transform healthcare in the system’s communities, said Leelee K. Thames, MD, senior vice president and chief value officer for Novant Health Enterprises and co-president of Privia Medical Group—North Carolina.
“We recognized Privia as having best-in-class practice management solutions and population health capabilities,” said Dr. Thames, an anesthesiologist. “We saw this as an opportunity to pair this with Novant Health’s leading clinical expertise in managing the full continuum of patients’ needs from health and wellness to advanced chronic illnesses.”
She added that the relationship with Privia also aligns with Novant’s culture of having physicians at the leadership table as equal partners “to ensure conversations put patients right at the center.”
Letting doctors focus on patients
Privia’s core model involves providing independent physicians with a “common technology and services platform” that includes an EHR and practice management services with embedded population health tools, Flammini noted.
Patients will notice the positive impact of integrated digital health tools that enhance the patient-physician relationship, while many other aspects of their physician’s practice will remain the same.
“Patients are still seeing their doctor, their physician’s name is still on the door,” Flammini said. “They're not selling their practice but they are becoming part of a larger medical group.”
Physicians in the medical group, meanwhile, will see the benefits of being in a clinically integrated network, Dr. Thames said. These include “integrating clinical programs, care coordination and advancing initiatives that will enable us to bring in both primary care and specialists,” she said.
Independent physicians who join with the medical group will have access to advanced analytics to help identify patients who may need additional support such as care management, along with tools to help them manage their conditions.
The advanced population health analytics combine administrative functions such as revenue cycle and cash flow management allowing physicians to focus on patients, Flammini said, adding that Privia also works with local payers to transition from fee-for-service toward a better aligned model that rewards physicians for quality outcomes and value-based care.
That can help physician practices “feel like they're not on that hamster wheel and that they can rely on proven partners in Novant and Privia with the kind of scale and resources that we bring to the table,” he said.
Dr. Thames agreed.
“The medical group concept is really taken to heart—it’s not a vendor transactional relationship,” she said. “You're part of something bigger and, as a physician, there is empowerment in working alongside your colleagues towards something greater to improve patient outcomes. So that's what's so exciting from a physician perspective.”