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HealthFirst advocates for its members by articulating to key policy makers the important role independent doctors play in the fabric of our health care system. Our efforts over the past year have resulted in many victories for our members including:
HealthFirst negotiates collectively with payers, the State, and the Green Mountain Care Board on reimbursement, quality and policy. For example, HealthFirst has a contract with MVP Health Care that recognizes our network’s high quality performance by reimbursing members at a significantly higher rate than MVP’s Community Fee Schedule. This contract has a small withhold that is returned based on a few quality standards and offers a performance payment that allows us to earn “more” if we meet reasonable quality performance targets.
HealthFirst has aligned with Community Health Care of Merrimack Valley (CHCMV). This multi-state association of independent physicians has formed a strategic alliance to negotiate with malpractice insurance carriers. The result has been a true leveraging of purchasing power to create ”a superior medical malpractice insurance program run by physicians.” Collectively, this program has saved HealthFirst members in excess of $300,000 in premiums. A typical practice saves more than they pay in annual HealthFirst dues.
Members can significantly lower overhead costs by taking advantage of HealthFirst’s group purchasing and partner vendor discounts. HealthFirst currently has a contract with Intalere, a leading national healthcare group purchasing organization that offers tremendous buying power to our members. Intalere offers special pricing on thousands of products and services ranging from medical supplies and office equipment to cellular phone service.
HealthFirst also has vendor partnerships with MP Med Pro and Dominion Tech to offer discounted pricing for medical waste disposal and IT support.
HealthFirst has partnered with the Broughton Fund to offer a Community Match Grant to HealthFirst member practices seeking to hire new physicians or retain current physicians. This grant is administered through the UVM Larner College of Medicine Office of Primary Care and Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program. Grant funds of $50,000 to assist with medical school loan repayment have been earmarked over a two year period, 2018-2019. Minimum matching grants of $5,000 from the HealthFirst Community Match Fund will be granted to each recipient. HealthFirst practices seeking to hire or retain physicians or member physicians seeking jobs in the practice areas of family medicine, internal medicine, geriatrics, pediatrics, obstetrics & gynecology, and psychiatry may apply.
HealthFirst members keep abreast of the ever-changing healthcare landscape with HealthFirst Alerts on important legislative issues, programs, and other issues affecting independent practices. We interpret the complex deluge of information for members and distill it in to salient bullet points and recommendations to help members make the best decisions for their practices.
HealthFirst links its members to other like-minded independent physicians and practices. Members meet and share ideas with their independent colleagues at HealthFirst’s Annual Meeting or monthly board meetings. HealthFirst also hosts a listserv for practice managers at member practices that is a robust forum for practice managers to request and share information with each other.
Being a part of our collaborative care network enables our non-PCP HealthFirst members to support primary care medical homes and take part in HealthFirst’s shared-savings and pay-for-performance programs. Through this agreement, we are able to present our HealthFirst network of practices as uniquely dedicated to certain standards of care when negotiating with payers and state officials.
Joining our Independent Practice Association (IPA) adds your voice to those of your colleagues, which collectively strengthens our voice in Vermont. You are not required to participate in any contracts (e.g., MVP or ACO). We present you with opportunities, but you remain empowered to determine whether it makes sense for your practice to participate in a program through HealthFirst. You can remain a part of other ACOs, networks, or professional organizations even when you join HealthFirst.