When it Comes to Practicing Medicine — There is Strength in Numbers
Q&A With Pioneer Physicians Network President Gary Pinta, M.D.
1. How are you growing the number of primary care physicians practicing at Pioneer Physicians Network?
The relationship between an independent primary care physician and their patient can be the most influential force in the health care universe. We emphasize the preservation of this relationship in our pitch to potential partners. It is challenging to devise a sales approach for our practice because there is so much noise in the marketplace and PCPs tend to be skeptical and reluctant to make a change. That’s why we decided to take a low-key rather than high-pressure approach. We meet one-on-one with independent PCPs over lunch or dinner and communicate to them our belief that independent PCPs can survive and thrive in a collaborative environment. We discuss the advantages of teamwork and explain our successful partnership with agilon health and how they can benefit from our new Medicare Advantage program, Paradigm Senior Care Advantage (PSCA). From saving money to saving lives, PSCA has allowed us to triple our case managers, who are helping to provide our senior patients with even better-quality health care. Our robust case management team helps us catch chronic health conditions on the front end before it’s too late. We educate independent PCPs about this model for Medicare Advantage patients and how by sharing savings facilitated through the PSCA contract with health plans, rather than contracting on their own directly, they have an opportunity to meaningfully increase their compensation. Our approach seems to be working. So far, we have five new primary care physicians who have committed or sent a letter of intent. Our ultimate goal is to add 30 to 50 physicians to our group within the next three years.
2. Why are PCPs interested in joining Pioneer? What aspects of the practice make it unique?
By joining Pioneer Physicians Network, independent primary care physicians are able to remain in their own offices, run their own businesses and retain their freedom. However, by becoming part of our network, they will benefit financially, with better contracts from both Medicare Advantage and commercial health plans. And by participating in PSCA, they will be able to offer better quality, value-based healthcare services to Medicare-age patients. In summary, by becoming affiliated with Pioneer Physicians Network, independent primary care physicians have an opportunity to remain autonomous, while at the same time they can provide their patients with more resources, additional services and a more robust list of quality specialists.
3. How are you educating future PCPs on value-based care in your community?
We are working with medical students and residents to engage them in the practice of value-based medicine They are the doctors of the future and we want them to understand how they can have a concrete impact on patient outcomes. While in the office, we involve them in the diagnosis and treatment of patients and try to provide “teaching moments.” In addition, twice a year we organize dinners for local residents and use this opportunity to educate them. We deliver a presentation about how medicine is evolving and advise them about ways to stay ahead of the game.
4. What impact will the growing number of PCPs have on Pioneer and the care provided to patients?
There is strength in numbers. By banding together to practice medicine, we all raise the bar. At Pioneer Physicians Network, we want our physicians to do what they love most: care for patients. We offer them a more efficient and economical way to practice medicine. While there is also a financial benefit for PCPs, patients are the big winners as they receive more robust resources, a larger list of quality specialists to choose from, myriad enhanced services, etc. It’s like they have another pair of helpful eyes watching over them to ensure they receive the best care and ultimately, the best outcome.
5. What are your ultimate goals for growth – and plans for the future?
Our immediate goal is to expand our network throughout Akron. Our ultimate goal is to expand our practice to the Cleveland and Youngtown areas. We want Pioneer Physicians Network to be a household name. We already have a campaign running on billboards and in social media. Our tagline is: “Patients are our Passion.”