Claiming a seat at the table: United Rheumatology meeting gives independent practices a voice

Owning and operating an independent practice can be as challenging as it is rewarding, but being independent does not mean you always have to do it alone, according to officials at United Rheumatology.

Founded in 2014, United Rheumatology describes itself as the nation’s “only physician-led organization supporting independent rheumatology practices,” and currently represents more than 400 providers in 35 states. In a continuing effort to address common obstacles among independent rheumatologists and improve the management of their practices, the group will host its fourth annual spring national meeting in San Diego, scheduled for April 20 to 21.

Promising guest speakers and CME opportunities for attendees, Max I. Hamburger, MD, founder and executive chairman of United Rheumatology and managing partner at Rheumatology Associates of Long Island, noted that the meeting will also be a chance for like-minded, independent physicians to network and trade notes on best practices, as well as to learn how United Rheumatology can help them, either through its group purchasing services or its extensive focus on clinical data.

The goal of United Rheumatology is to use the organization’s size to secure “a place at the table” for its independent practices, according to its founder and executive chairman, Max I. Hamburger, MD.
Source: United Rheumatology

According to Hamburger, the meeting aims to help independent practices better serve their patients, by providing resources that are typically enjoyed only by larger hospital- or academic-based facilities.

“I want to be able to look at the people coming into my practice and I want to be able to assure them that they are making a smart decision by coming into an independent community practice, because I think that we can do the very best of meeting the needs of our patients,” Hamburger told Healio Rheumatology. “Not to take anything away from the academic centers, but when you can walk at street level into an office and find everything that you need, I think patients appreciate that and so we are doing everything we can to support the independent-community rheumatologists.”

On the agenda

According to United Rheumatology, the focus of the meeting will be the migration toward value-based health care, and how new treatment options can improve the quality patient care.

There will also be a series of CME opportunities for attendees, including:

  • “Sustaining Independent Rheumatology in Turbulent Times,” presented by Hamburger and Adrienne Hollander, MD, of Arthritis, Rheumatic and Back Disease Associates, including case studies on how to use data in engaging with payers;
  • “The Pathophysiology of RA and Palindromic Rheumatism,” presented by William Rigby, MD, principal investigator at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center department of microbiology and immunology;
  • “Biosimilars: A Clinical and Policy Update,” given by Alan Epstein, MD, clinical professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; and
  • “Emerging Payment Models: A Community Rheumatologist’s Checklist,” presented by Jon Glaudemans, CEO of United Rheumatology.

Robin K. Dore, MD, a clinical professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, as well as a member of the United Rheumatology advisory board and medical policy committee, added that the meeting will also include practice leaders and administrators who will share best practices on a variety of challenges faced by those in independent practice.

“It will have all like-minded people getting together, who want to maintain our independence, who are committed to practicing excellent rheumatology care, who are advocating for patients, wanting to follow guidelines and willing to submit our data to show we’re doing what we are saying we’re doing,” Dore told Healio Rheumatology. “The medical policy committee meets the first day to review guidelines to make sure they are updated, and if something new has happened we change the guidelines. In addition, there will be talks given by members of medical policy committee, reviewing new data about treatment.”

Challenges for practices

Before opening her own private practice in Tustin, California, Dore worked with Kaiser Permanente before deciding to go independent in 1982.

“I decided that I wanted to independent person, and I wanted to be able to practice the way I felt rheumatology should be practiced,” she said.

However, even with a small team working with her, administrative pressures began to burden her business. After joining United Rheumatology a year after its founding, Dore said she found the support she was looking for.

“With all burdensome administration requirements we need to do, it’s very difficult, but I feel I want to be able to follow guidelines and provide best possible care for my patients,” Dore said. “I was attracted to United Rheumatology by the fact that it has guidelines, collects data and makes certain that our members are providing the best possible care by creating these guidelines.”

According to Hamburger, the median size of a practice is one, meaning that half of the practices in the United States are solo operations.

“The majority of rheumatologists are in very small practices,” Hamburger said. “The logistical hurdles of trying to do everything that is needed in a practice are substantial.”

Hamburger added that the spring meeting will also introduce attendees to “the tools we have built that will give them the insights from the best practice administrators in the country.”

“There will be a lot of experience on display from a lot of very experienced people,” he said.

Remaining vital and independent

To help independent practices and owners meet these challenges, United Rheumatology provides members with array of services, including not just group purchasing and novel contracting services, but also access to practice management experts, clinical data and CME opportunities.

“We see this organization growing — there are many new members who are younger than myself and they are excited when they realize that we really do have a voice,” Dore said. “We are independent, but as a group, we are able to respond rapidly to changes in the environment, whether it’s medical policy, changing methods of payment or new medicines coming out that we need to educate our members about. We can react really quickly and meet our members’ needs.”

According to Hamburger, the ultimate goal of United Rheumatology is to use the organization’s size to secure “a place at the table” for its independent practices. The spring meeting is just one part of working toward that goal, he said.

“We will look at the question of, ‘How do we take our place at the table with payers?’ whether they are commercial or government, and, ‘How do we have a conversation with them that enables us to ensuring that patients are getting the care they need, and getting access to that care?’” he said. “Working with payers has always been what this was all about. Pleased to say that after 4 years, we are actively doing that.” – by Jason Laday

For more information

Robin K. Dore , MD, can be reached at 10833 Le Conte Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90095.

Max I. Hamburger, MD, can be reached at 150 Motor Pkwy, Suite 108E, Hauppauge, NY 11788.

Reference: http://www.unitedrheumatology.org/2018-spring-national-meeting.

Disclosure: This story is part of a media partnership between Healio Rheumatology and United Rheumatology. Dore and Hamburger report leadership positions with United Rheumatology.

Owning and operating an independent practice can be as challenging as it is rewarding, but being independent does not mean you always have to do it alone, according to officials at United Rheumatology.

Founded in 2014, United Rheumatology describes itself as the nation’s “only physician-led organization supporting independent rheumatology practices,” and currently represents more than 400 providers in 35 states. In a continuing effort to address common obstacles among independent rheumatologists and improve the management of their practices, the group will host its fourth annual spring national meeting in San Diego, scheduled for April 20 to 21.

Promising guest speakers and CME opportunities for attendees, Max I. Hamburger, MD, founder and executive chairman of United Rheumatology and managing partner at Rheumatology Associates of Long Island, noted that the meeting will also be a chance for like-minded, independent physicians to network and trade notes on best practices, as well as to learn how United Rheumatology can help them, either through its group purchasing services or its extensive focus on clinical data.

The goal of United Rheumatology is to use the organization’s size to secure “a place at the table” for its independent practices, according to its founder and executive chairman, Max I. Hamburger, MD.
Source: United Rheumatology

According to Hamburger, the meeting aims to help independent practices better serve their patients, by providing resources that are typically enjoyed only by larger hospital- or academic-based facilities.

“I want to be able to look at the people coming into my practice and I want to be able to assure them that they are making a smart decision by coming into an independent community practice, because I think that we can do the very best of meeting the needs of our patients,” Hamburger told Healio Rheumatology. “Not to take anything away from the academic centers, but when you can walk at street level into an office and find everything that you need, I think patients appreciate that and so we are doing everything we can to support the independent-community rheumatologists.”

On the agenda

According to United Rheumatology, the focus of the meeting will be the migration toward value-based health care, and how new treatment options can improve the quality patient care.

There will also be a series of CME opportunities for attendees, including:

  • “Sustaining Independent Rheumatology in Turbulent Times,” presented by Hamburger and Adrienne Hollander, MD, of Arthritis, Rheumatic and Back Disease Associates, including case studies on how to use data in engaging with payers;
  • “The Pathophysiology of RA and Palindromic Rheumatism,” presented by William Rigby, MD, principal investigator at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center department of microbiology and immunology;
PAGE BREAK
  • “Biosimilars: A Clinical and Policy Update,” given by Alan Epstein, MD, clinical professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; and
  • “Emerging Payment Models: A Community Rheumatologist’s Checklist,” presented by Jon Glaudemans, CEO of United Rheumatology.

Robin K. Dore, MD, a clinical professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, as well as a member of the United Rheumatology advisory board and medical policy committee, added that the meeting will also include practice leaders and administrators who will share best practices on a variety of challenges faced by those in independent practice.

“It will have all like-minded people getting together, who want to maintain our independence, who are committed to practicing excellent rheumatology care, who are advocating for patients, wanting to follow guidelines and willing to submit our data to show we’re doing what we are saying we’re doing,” Dore told Healio Rheumatology. “The medical policy committee meets the first day to review guidelines to make sure they are updated, and if something new has happened we change the guidelines. In addition, there will be talks given by members of medical policy committee, reviewing new data about treatment.”

Challenges for practices

Before opening her own private practice in Tustin, California, Dore worked with Kaiser Permanente before deciding to go independent in 1982.

“I decided that I wanted to independent person, and I wanted to be able to practice the way I felt rheumatology should be practiced,” she said.

However, even with a small team working with her, administrative pressures began to burden her business. After joining United Rheumatology a year after its founding, Dore said she found the support she was looking for.

“With all burdensome administration requirements we need to do, it’s very difficult, but I feel I want to be able to follow guidelines and provide best possible care for my patients,” Dore said. “I was attracted to United Rheumatology by the fact that it has guidelines, collects data and makes certain that our members are providing the best possible care by creating these guidelines.”

According to Hamburger, the median size of a practice is one, meaning that half of the practices in the United States are solo operations.

“The majority of rheumatologists are in very small practices,” Hamburger said. “The logistical hurdles of trying to do everything that is needed in a practice are substantial.”

PAGE BREAK

Hamburger added that the spring meeting will also introduce attendees to “the tools we have built that will give them the insights from the best practice administrators in the country.”

“There will be a lot of experience on display from a lot of very experienced people,” he said.

Remaining vital and independent

To help independent practices and owners meet these challenges, United Rheumatology provides members with array of services, including not just group purchasing and novel contracting services, but also access to practice management experts, clinical data and CME opportunities.

“We see this organization growing — there are many new members who are younger than myself and they are excited when they realize that we really do have a voice,” Dore said. “We are independent, but as a group, we are able to respond rapidly to changes in the environment, whether it’s medical policy, changing methods of payment or new medicines coming out that we need to educate our members about. We can react really quickly and meet our members’ needs.”

According to Hamburger, the ultimate goal of United Rheumatology is to use the organization’s size to secure “a place at the table” for its independent practices. The spring meeting is just one part of working toward that goal, he said.

“We will look at the question of, ‘How do we take our place at the table with payers?’ whether they are commercial or government, and, ‘How do we have a conversation with them that enables us to ensuring that patients are getting the care they need, and getting access to that care?’” he said. “Working with payers has always been what this was all about. Pleased to say that after 4 years, we are actively doing that.” – by Jason Laday

For more information

Robin K. Dore , MD, can be reached at 10833 Le Conte Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90095.

Max I. Hamburger, MD, can be reached at 150 Motor Pkwy, Suite 108E, Hauppauge, NY 11788.

Reference: http://www.unitedrheumatology.org/2018-spring-national-meeting.

Disclosure: This story is part of a media partnership between Healio Rheumatology and United Rheumatology. Dore and Hamburger report leadership positions with United Rheumatology.

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