New partnerships announced to strengthen relationships among Cape Cod physicians and hospitals

Plans include new contract relationship with Caritas Christi Network Services

Cape Cod Healthcare, Inc. and the local physician community on Cape Cod together have introduced two new organizations designed to strengthen the working relationships among local physicians and the Cape’s two hospitals, and to improve quality, efficiency and coordination of patient care in the region. The new organizations are a Physician Organization (PO) called Cape Cod Preferred Physicians, LLC and a Physician-Hospital Organization (PHO), called Cape Cod Health Network, LLC.

The PO will be physician-owned and physician-governed. It will focus on building a more efficient, higher quality, clinically-integrated model of care delivery that includes all member physicians and the Cape Cod Healthcare system. The PHO will be a joint venture of the PO and the Cape Cod Healthcare system, and have joint governance. The PHO will pursue risk contracts with payors interested in driving down costs and willing to design reimbursement models that will pay for higher quality care and better outcomes. The PHO will also support the use of integration tools such as electronic medical records (EMR) and e-prescribing.

The long-term goal of both new organizations is to evolve into an Accountable Care Organization (ACO), which is a comprehensive provider entity with the ability to plan budgets and resource needs; develop reliable, valid performance metrics; and manage patients across a continuum of care, including hospital inpatients, psychiatric patients, and post-acute care patients. 

In addition to these partnerships, CCHC will also contract with Caritas Christi Network Services (CCNS), a large Boston-based Physician Network. This contract will allow Cape physicians who join the new PO and PHO the right to take part in the CCNS payor risk contracts immediately. These risk contracts are designed to have providers manage the cost and quality of the health care they deliver.

“For some time, we have been urged by the local physician community to find ways to support their needs and create a closer affiliation with each other,” said Jack Lipomi, Senior Vice President of Managed Care for Cape Cod Healthcare.  “After carefully exploring all the options, working with the local physicians to build a new physician organization and affiliating with Caritas Christi Health Care met all of our criteria.  We see CCNS as a leader in developing accountable care organizations.  We approached Caritas Christi Health Care and they were very accommodating to us.”

“Both of our organizations embrace payment reform and both are physician-led,” Lipomi added. “Caritas has experience and infrastructure that will help us build our provider network. With seven existing physician organizations and six related hospitals, CCNS understands the unique needs of community physicians.”

“Both organizations have a shared vision on quality and cost,” added Mark Girard, M.D., President of CCNS. “We both embrace the strong community hospital model and we both have a shared vision about creating an ACO model in the future.  With this affiliation, the Cape physicians will have the advantage of utilizing our preexisting administrative infrastructure.”

CCNS is not impacted by the sale of the Caritas Christi hospitals to Cerberus, an equity investment company.

“It’s our goal to build a clinically integrated care system to serve the residents of Cape Cod and maintain a strong healthcare system for the community in challenging times,” said Richard Salluzzo, MD, MBA, President and CEO of CCHC. “These new partnerships will help us achieve this goal.”

“As a physician, I’m excited to have an option that both aligns my patient care more closely with the Cape’s community hospitals and improves my ability to participate in good payor contracts,” said Falmouth Primary Care Physician William Litterer, D.O. “In these times, when there is such an emphasis on healthcare costs and quality, a strong primary care system aligned with community hospitals is the most effective way to improve overall health and manage costs.”

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