It’s not a beer

When we announced a few weeks ago that our IPA had executed our first contract, I found myself explaining what an IPA is and what it does. An IPA is a business entity that assists multiple independent organizations to contract with managed care organizations (health plans). But it’s uncommon (unheard of?) for an IPA to work with organizations that are not physicians. We even had to update the Wikipedia entry on IPA to clarify that physicians aren’t the only ones who can create or join an IPA.

Where we are now

We have over thirty organizations participating in the IPA.
We have two executed agreements with health plans, and expect this to grow.
We have a technology platform that connects our community.

Where we are going (and why)

I re-read the 1990’s coffee-table Book “who moved my cheese?” recently, and am now reminded of the simple (yet complicated) lessons therein. The book provides a framework for how we respond to change. A key message is that change will always happen. If we resist it, we will become angry, fearful and confused. If we embrace it, we’ll find new opportunities and flourish. Our IPA is focused on helping organizations embrace (rather than fear) the change that is happening. These changes will, we hope, help us improve the health of hundreds of thousands of people in New York and beyond. Our plan is to continue to build relationships on both sides of this work: growing the breadth and scope of the organizations who join the IPA, and growing the number of health plans with whom we partner.

While the metaphor of a well-oiled machine is overused, I reflect that the mechanics of Alliance are running well – primarily because we have learned to anticipate and embrace change. Indeed, our comfort with change has become our secret sauce. The challenges of early days of start-up disorganization and growth are well behind us, and while we’ll never be perfect, and the start-up of an IPA is non-trivial, our team is working together to do our best to serve our community. I am honored and privileged to work with such a dedicated and talented group of people.

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