Regional healthcare leaders gather at HMG-hosted forum

HMG Annual MeetingHolston Medical Group physicians and providers recently gathered in Asheville, North Carolina, for the group’s “2013 Annual Meeting.” Focusing on healthcare industry changes, like-minded professionals joined HMG providers, including State of Franklin Healthcare Associates, Johnson City; Medical Care, LLC, Elizabethton; Mountain Region Family Medicine, Kingsport; Cornerstone Health Care, High Point, NC; The Jackson Clinic, Jackson, Tenn; as well as representatives of Highlands Physician’s, Inc., learning from some of the nation’s most-respected leaders in healthcare reform.

“As physicians and healthcare professionals, our intent is that of leading the way in improved quality and coordination of care for the patients we collectively serve,”said HMG President & CEO Scott Fowler, JD, MD., who hosted the weekend forum of more than 100 regional physicians and providers. “As those who value and respect the integrity of the physician-patient relationship, our intent is that of proactively leading the effort of improved care, rather than reactively following.”

A commonality shared by many attendees included participation in the new OnePartner Health Information Exchange (HIE), a physician-owned, patient-centric information exchange system, and Qualuable Medical Professionals, a new physician-directed, regional Accountable Care Organization (ACO) as designated by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS).

“The ACO model, made possible by the exchange of information via health information exchanges like the OnePartner HIE, provides an opportunity for regional collaboration like never before,”continued Fowler. “I like the idea of reaching across diverse delivery systems and working with my fellow medical colleagues from various practices and groups.”

“That’s what the weekend was all about — doctors who are patient-care focused, who are committed to doing what’s right, and who are willing to go the distance to give patients a better care experience while delivering quality and value,”agreed Reid Blackwelder, MD, president-elect of American Academy of Family Physicians. “We gathered for the purpose of leading the way in healthcare reform.”

With an event theme of “Going the Distance,” an elite panel of national speakers talked with providers concerning the advent of Medicare Accountable Care Organizations, focusing on improving care while reducing costs.

Craig Samitt, MD, president and CEO of Dean Health System, Wisconsin, known throughout the nation for his leadership in advancing ACOs, addressed the group, telling participants the “top ten ways healthcare is likely to change.” Additional speakers and panelists included William Jennings, MD of Palmetto Health; Len Fromer, MD, of Group Practice Forum; Reid Blackwelder, MD, president-elect of American Academy of Family Physicians; Grace Terrell, MD, of Cornerstone Health Care; Robert Groves, MD, Banner Health; and Lori Nomura, a healthcare advisory attorney with Foster Pepper, PLLC.

“It’s always exciting to be a part of something bigger,”said Ron Blackmore, MD, a Qualuable participant who attended the weekend forum and who is a primary care provider with State of Franklin Healthcare Associates. “The advent of ACOs is one of the ways healthcare can be exciting, providing avenues for us to be able to give a quality of patient care that has not been possible in the past. This is about physicians working together better than ever before, keeping the patient at the very center of our efforts, and then providing improved care at a lower cost.”

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