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Bringing Physicians Together

Launch of Health Excel Marks a New Direction for Independent Physicians and the Future of Medicine

What does the future of medicine look like? How will independent physicians shape their destiny and influence the unfolding future of healthcare in a marketplace buffeted by often sharply competing interests, massive regulations, radical new healthcare technologies, and profound institutional ambiguity about the physician-patient relationship?

Bringing Physicians TogetherThe physicians of XiMED, ASMG, La Maestra, San Ysidro Health, and others, have come up with a solution that could address many of these issues, and quite possibly, change how independent physicians will practice in the future. The solution: Health Excel.

San Diego County-based independent physician associations (IPAs) have joined forces to create a new administrative organization with the goal of providing enhanced healthcare services to patients and payers. The new entity, called Health Excel, counts more than 500 independent physicians as members — 275 of which are primary care physicians — making it one of the largest independent organizations in San Diego County. Virtually every medical specialty will be represented by Health Excel doctors.

“Health Excel is a concept of giving voice to physicians,” said XiMED Board Chairman Marc Sedwitz, MD. “Doctors aren’t involved in the business side of medicine, and they should be. Health Excel gives doctors a voice on the business side, which will enable them to control costs, better align care with patient needs, serve patients proactively and improve outcomes.”

“For example, when it comes to hospital services,” added Marc Sedwitz, MD, “with this model, physicians will have the ability to negotiate directly with employer groups to ensure patients receive best-in-class medical care at a reasonable price.”

According to Thomas Sounhein, CEO of XiMED, market conditions are right for the formation of Health Excel. Overall, the healthcare community is experiencing considerable disruption brought on by a combination of broad-based efforts to control costs; the introduction of new technologies; legal accommodations permitting physicians to engage in novel risk-based collaborative business models; employer impatience with rising healthcare costs; and the persistent determination by some independent physicians to change the practice of medicine by returning control to the physician in the interest of improving patient care.

As such, Health Excel is structured as an organization of organizations — a for-profit administrative entity designed to bring autonomous independent physician groups together in a common alliance. Each aligned IPA will still function independently while also being able to participate in a collaborative environment with fellow physicians.

Calling Health Excel the “future of independent medical practice,” Sounhein states the focus of the alliance is to give independent physicians the ability to share best clinical practices with other physicians and create a more collaborative environment than what currently exists. The alliance will also seek to provide lower malpractice rates, reduced costs for physician health insurance, and technology to allow sharing of data between disparate EHR vendors.

The formation of Health Excel creates the opportunity for the more than 4,000 independent physicians in the greater San Diego area to share information and best practices.

“The time is right,” XiMED's Dr. Sedwitz said. “We must return accountability and responsibility to the physician. Health Excel is that opportunity.”