The Merit Health Network

Incorporated in 2013, Merit IPA is Savannah’s premier network of non-affiliated and independent specialists.  Currently, Merit IPA is comprised of over 200 physicians representing 19 specialties from 28 individual practices.  We are fortunate to be composed of the region’s highest quality and specialized providers, whose motivation is twofold: First, to improve care via better coordination between providers and, second, to reduce payer cost by avoiding duplicate care. Merit IPA was also developed to provide a vehicle for advocacy at the local and state levels.  A platform to have open dialogue with other providers, payers, legislative officials, and other provider based associations for the purpose of building strength in the foundation of today’s independent provider.

As Merit IPA excelled as a Messenger-Model IPA, Merit's growth and excitement led to the founding of the Merit Clinical Integration Network (Merit CIN) as a separate entity, tackling care coordination and Fee-For-Value success through data sharing and clinical initiative collaboration.  By reception of legal advisory opinion, The Merit Clinical Integration Network was formally established in late 2015, to offer a platform for providers to coordinate care delivery, reduce inefficiencies, and measurably improve value added to the patient community we serve.  Jumpstarting more than a year of due diligence, nine-member practices within Merit IPA fearlessly led the necessary effort to pursue CIN functionality and success.  We proudly deployed GRAChIE as our Health Information Exchange (HIE) solution to connect with a total of 22 providers throughout GA and several key regional entities.  While doing so, three clinical initiatives were also kicked off to promote the exchange of clinical best practices and data sharing:

1.       Medication Reconciliation

2.       Lower Back Pain Clinic

3.       Pediatric Asthma Clinic

The rapid growth in both participation and development led to more excitement among regionally independent providers.  The strong leadership by both administrators and physicians is instrumental in providing a strong foundation for continuous strategic growth.  An active Executive Committee comprised of just five individual administrators, meeting on a bi-weekly basis, allows for thorough discussions and quick decision-making capabilities.  Our bi-monthly board approach allows periodic due diligence to take place while our physician leaders execute simultaneous progressive guidance and trajectory.  With our new committee structure being deployed, we can keep the dial moving while preventing burnout of key members while engaging new participants.

As we progress in 2016, Merit CIN primary objectives include:

1.       Further deployment of our technological infrastructure, including population health                      analytics, further care coordination, and HIE.

2.       Deployment of new committee and subcommittee structure to promote member engagement            and continuous movement with objectives; without burnout.

3.       Clinical initiative support and deployment of new programs.

4.       Engage payers and employers as appropriate.

5.       Advocacy efforts that further support our independent members.

6.       Cost containment efforts for members.

7.       Development of a MACRA / MIPS plan.

8.       Further member engagement and education efforts.

9.       Recruitment and growth.

The Merit Clinical Integration Network offers a platform to provide optimal care for our patients’ needs by utilizing an advanced technological infrastructure to provide the highest-quality care possible
— Chris Wixon, MD, Savannah Vascular & Cardiac Institute, Merit Board Member

This led to the establishment of Merit CIN, allowing our physicians to ‘independently collaborate’ as a single entity to:

1.      Share resources, best practices, and clinical collaboration for practice stability and network                strength.

2.      Provide team-based care pathways to provide our patients’ with cutting edge inter-operability            across their care experience.

3.      Provide care management services directly to employers and payers.

4.      Invest in and utilize Health Information Exchange and Population Health Management                    solutions.

5.      Define, Measure, and Improve “Value” for our patients, payers, employers, and providers.

6.      Collectively prepare for Value-Based Delivery Modalities in alignment with CMS’ Core                      Quality Metrics.

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