The impact of population health programs: 2 spine surgeons weigh in

Alan Condon -   Print  | Email

Two spine surgeons outline population health programs established in their practices.

Ask Spine Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to spine surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting spine care. We invite all spine surgeon and specialist responses.

Next week's question: What types of partnerships does your group have with other providers in the area?

Please send responses to Alan Condon at by 5 p.m. CST Wednesday, Oct. 23.

Note: The following responses were edited for length and clarity.

Question: Does your practice have a population health program? If so, what impact has it had? How do you see the program developing?

Christian Zimmerman, MD. Saint Alphonsus Medical Group and SAHS Neuroscience Institute (Boise, Idaho): As an employed specialist, there are built-in mechanisms that the hospital employs to assist with the continuum of care. One of the population health programs, Physician Quality Reporting Initiative, monitors patient profiles during evaluation and surgical intervention. In fact, our parent organization sends qualified representatives to our office weekly in order to monitor and report our Medicare patients' surgical workup, diagnosis and outcomes for completeness and specificity. This practice was instituted by our parent organization 10 years ago and has made a positive impact on care and reimbursement. This practice is not observed by all surgeons for all the obvious reasons.

Vladimir Sinkov, MD. New Hampshire Orthopaedic Center (Nashua): My practice participates in a capitated insurance plan that coordinates primary care and specialist referral specialists, which can improve communication among providers and streamline care.

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