Independent Physician/Provider Associations (IPAs) are key mechanisms for physicians, health systems and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) to align and engage in value-based payment arrangements that add value to payors and attributed members. This paper provides insights into the benefits to IPAs for engaging FQHCs and community-based organizations (CBOs) into their network, care model and funds flow methodology, particularly for challenging populations such as Medicaid, dual eligible and high-risk Medicare members.
In most parts of the country, an IPA is an entity owned and organized by one or more physicians, medical groups or FQHCs and in some cases, health systems. The IPA holds “upstream” contracts with managed care organizations (MCOs) and “downstream” contracts with independent physicians and other community providers. While most IPAs are for-profit, non-profit IPAs exist particularly in cases when they are created primarily by FQHCs, or in support of a non-profit health system. The three most common types of IPA models are (1) independent and community physician owned and driven, (2) health system aligned and driven and (3) FQHC-centric.
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