June 29, 1998
Flagship Health/Physicians Quality Care (PQC), a group of 160 community physicians in Central Maryland, and Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM) have signed a letter of intent to develop a doctor-controlled, community health collaborative. The new initiative will give physicians, whose practices are not controlled by JHM, increased access to Hopkins' vast wealth of medical and technical resources.
Under the terms of the agreement, signed this month, Flagship Health/PQC will become the preferred organization for the development of primary care services in areas not presently served by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Both JHM and Flagship/PQC also will be free to pursue other business opportunities with hospitals and health care facilities, physicians groups and insurers. These ventures will be developed within the framework of the new collaborative whenever possible. The new collaborative will be subject to prior hospital and physician agreements.
"This endeavor with Flagship Health/PQC signals our determination to work more closely with community physicians in order to offer the citizens of Maryland the best coordination of quality health care choices," says Edward D. Miller, M.D., Dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine.
"This unique undertaking came about in response to the needs of community physicians and patients," says Dana Frank, M.D., president of Flagship Health/Physicians Quality Care (PQC). "Many patients want their care delivered locally by their own physicians and in community hospitals. Community physicians want control over their practice organizations and the freedom to choose the most appropriate course of patient care. Both groups want to be sure that when a patient's condition is best served by the resources of the world's best hospital, access to Hopkins and its physicians is easier. This initiative delivers such choices."
Says Elias Zerhouni, M.D., vice dean of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and president of its Clinical Practice Association, "It's not enough simply to talk about the importance of choice for physicians and patients. We have to put in place a tangible mechanism for coordination of care, one which will offer value to payors, patients, and providers. These providers include community physicians and hospitals committed to a patient-centered approach, on an inclusive basis. Our agreement creates solutions that address patient issues and deliver the right care at the right time, at the right place and at the right cost."
An example of the new collaboration's impact on community health can be seen in how it will respond to recent changes in Medicare, the government led insurance program for older Americans. "Many Medicare beneficiaries are concerned that the quality of their care may be compromised by the government's recent preference for the Medicare/managed care model," says Paul Bodnar, M.D., Flagship/PQC's medical director. "For them, and all patients, the key elements of the new system are accessible, convenient, high-quality medical services delivered at the community level. We think that the combination of community physicians and community hospitals, augmented by the highly specialized resources that Hopkins offers, provides the best, most effective care, especially for the more complex cases."
"This is truly a winning solution for patients and the participating physicians," says Jerilyn Asher, chief executive officer of Physician Quality Care. "It clearly underscores Hopkins' commitment to the broader medical community and marks a new era in community health care that will greatly benefit the Maryland region."
Flagship Health, P.A., PQC's Maryland affiliate, is a multi specialty group practice comprised of 160 physicians and other practitioners from the Greater Baltimore and Annapolis areas who serve 200,000 patients at more 35 clinical sites. More than 50,000 patients are cared for on a capitated basis.
Physicians Quality Care, Inc., is a physician-directed practice management company that blends the talents of its physician and business leaders. The company's objective is to establish networks of primary and specialty care physicians and related diagnostic and therapeutic support services which can provide comprehensive health care services in specific geographic areas. Since its formation in 1995, PQC has followed a focused business development strategy resulting in relationships with more than 500 physicians in Maryland, Massachusetts and Georgia.
Johns Hopkins Medicine, established in 1995 to unite Hopkins biomedical research, clinical, teaching and business enterprises, includes The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Johns Hopkins Medical Services Corporation, Johns Hopkins Bayview Physicians, Johns Hopkins HealthCare and Johns Hopkins Home Care Group. The $1.5 billion enterprise is one of the largest employers in the state. Its components consistently are named at the top of national rankings for best Hospital and best School of Medicine, and its faculty consistently win the largest share of NIH research funds. Results of that research continue to advance efforts to diagnose, treat and prevent many diseases.