Rheumatologists need ‘a seat at the table’ in patient care discussions with payers
SAN DIEGO — Max I. Hamburger, MD, founder and executive chairman of United Rheumatology and managing partner at Rheumatology Associates of Long Island, addressed common challenges in payer-provider collaboration for independent rheumatologists trying to ensure their patients receive the care they need.
“United Rheumatology is made up of independent practice rheumatologists from around the country. We founded this organization in 2014, recognizing that there were enormous challenges that faced the subspecialty,” Hamburger told Healio Rheumatology. “We face such challenges because we take care of a chronic disease population who utilize the most expensive drugs in the country and everyone out there wants to manage our utilization of these drugs.”
“Rheumatologists have needed for a long time to be able to find a way to be accountable, responsible and ‘at the table’ when we’re talking about how we take care of our patients in a conversation with payers,” he said.
“More than half of the physicians in this country are now employed by an integrated delivery network, hospital or [accountable care organization] and so we are giving up our independence because of the turbulence that we face,” Hamburger said. “United Rheumatology is here to look at the turbulence in the payer and policy arenas in order to try to help [rheumatologists] manage in these turbulent times, to keep their practices stable and thriving so they can, in turn, take care of their patients in a way that the patients best need.”