Q: What is Integrated Care Partners?
A: ICP is a physician-led organization whose mission is to assist our members in providing the highest quality care at the most reasonable cost for our patients in the rapidly changing healthcare environment. Our member physicians define performance objectives, quality standards and evidence-based medicine protocols; forge partnerships with health plans, employers and providers; and establish requirements for ICP participation. We are focused on improving the health of the populations we serve.
ICP is a legal entity. It is NOT: an employed practice model, a program run by hospitals, physician employment or a practice-management service. Membership in ICP is free.
Q: Why does health care delivery need to change?
A: The pressure to contain rising health care costs in the U.S. has led to major changes in the way insurers and the government pay for care. Traditional Fee for Service is slowly making way for “value-based” models of care that attempt to limit payment increases and shift more of the risk for the cost of health care to providers and patients. ICP was formed by Hartford Healthcare in 2013 as a response to the evolving and complex healthcare market. Our mission is to help our providers and their patients thrive in this new value-based world. ICP is setting care standards; providing tools for greater collaboration among physicians and hospitals; and focusing on patient wellness, which reduces the cost of care. We also have a Care-Management Team of nurses, social workers and health coaches embedded in some practices to help physicians with patients who have chronic illnesses and tend to be the most expensive to treat.
Q: Is Integrated Care Partners (ICP) part of Hartford HealthCare?
A: Yes, we are a Hartford HealthCare partner but our membership includes private-practice, community physicians, not only physicians employed by Hartford HealthCare. ICP was formed to improve coordination among physicians, hospitals and other health care organizations so that, together, we can improve patient outcomes and the health of the populations we all serve – which is a requirement of health care reform and, more and more, of insurance companies and employers who pay for health care benefits for their employees.
Q: Who belongs to the organization?
A: Our members are committed to engaging in an active program of improving care coordination, and patient outcomes and reducing costs. The invitation to join extends to Hartford HealthCare-associated physicians, employed and in private practice, as well as community-based physicians who are not part of a Hartford HealthCare hospital medical staff.
Q: What are the goals of the organization?
A: We aim to:
- Shift the contracting focus from fee-for-service to a value-driven compensation model, rewarding high-quality, efficient care rather than volume.
- Forge partnerships with health plans, employers and providers.
- Enhance established standards of patient-centered care and excellence.
- Measure our success in meeting standards and performing in the top decile.
- Decrease hospital admissions and Emergency Room visits.
- Care for our patients more often in the office and in their homes.
- Reduce unnecessary variation in care and practice to well-known standards of care.
- Reduce disease’s total burden on society by intervening earlier in a patient’s chronic illness.
- Ensure our patients receive the latest, most proven treatments.
- Eliminate over-treatment and over-testing of our patients.
Q: What are the core principles of the organization?
A: Our core principles are to:
- Be physician-led, patient-centered, quality-based and value-focused.
- Practice using evidence-based medicine driven by shared data.
- Deliver value for consumers and employers.
- Forge partnerships with health plans, employers and providers.
- Align incentives so everyone is working together toward the same goals.
Q: How does ICP operate?
A: Integrated Care Partners is run by physicians, who work together to enhance established best practices. Committees made up of community and Hartford HealthCare employed physicians who determine requirements for membership. Members of the organization are expected to provide data and be accountable for meeting performance standards. Members also agree to participate in all contracts held by the organization. Physicians set organizational objectives, define performance objectives and quality standards, develop the infrastructure support plan, and are self-governing. Participating physicians hold each other accountable for performance against agreed-upon clinical performance and efficiency standards.
Q: Does a physician have to join ICP to continue to be affiliated with Hartford HealthCare?
A: No, physicians can continue to be part of Hartford HealthCare hospital medical staffs if they are not part of Integrated Care Partners. However, they will not be able to participate in Integrated Care Partners' contracts if they are not members and will not have access to quality performance data to demonstrate the quality and cost of care they deliver. They also will not be able to access resources to coordinate care.
Q: How will joining affect a physician's practice and income?
A: Physicians who join Integrated Care Partners are signaling their commitment to be part of a clinically integrated model of care. ICP supports physicians by helping them use technology to document and report the care they provide and practices that are not currently practicing according to evidence-based standards so that those practices can achieve ICP performance goals. ICP’s objective is to reward providers for delivering the right care at the right time in the right setting. Physician compensation is determined by the degree to which we all can achieve these goals. ICP works with physicians to ease these transitions and try to assure that everyone meets the organization's goals for high-quality, efficient care. ICP has several shared-savings agreements with commercial and government payers which will benefit members who meet the goals of these agreements.
Q: Won't standards of care restrict my ability to care for my patients?
A: Standards of care based on best practices have been shown to result in better patient outcomes for populations of patients. Following evidence-based treatment protocols doesn't mean a care giver must personally respond to every patient in the exact same manner but it does mean that the same proven treatments are provided for specific diseases. This should result in safer care and less variation in patient outcomes overall, while allowing providers to use their clinical judgment in making exceptions to established best-practice standards of care.
Q: What are the information technology requirements?
A: Members of Integrated Care Partners are required to use an ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology) certified electronic health records system that have capabilities to report performance around quality data metrics. These data metrics are used to facilitate better patient care, reduce duplicative testing and medication errors and improves care coordination. Hartford HealthCare is moving to a single-platform electronic health record (EPIC). Affiliated private practice physicians of ICP have the option to implement EPIC at a discounted rate.
Q: What functions does Integrated Care Partners perform?
A: The organization performs the following:
- Establishes evidence-based standards of care and holds members accountable to meet those standards.
- Provides physicians with tools to capture and analyze performance data.
- Provides care-management support to some practices for helping patients participate in meeting standards of care.
- Contracts for value-based compensation that rewards high-quality, efficient practice performance.
- The organization does NOT employ physicians or manage physician practices.
Q: Will this organization monitor my practice?
A: All members of the organization are held accountable for meeting the performance standards established by organization members.
Q: Will I be compared to other doctors?
A: Physician performance is compared to the established standards. As we make progress in measuring and improving the quality of care we provide across the organization, Integrated Care Partners will make our progress in that journey transparent and available to the public.
Q: Will quality information be publicly available?
A: Yes. Integrated Care Partners aspires to share with the public our progress toward meeting our established standards of care.
Q: How do our patients benefit from this?
A: Patients benefit from use of established standards of care in many ways, including:
- One point of focus (the patient).
- One source of patient information (integrated care record).
- One standard of quality (defined by collaborating clinicians).
- One population (everyone is focused on care improvement).
- Patients also benefit from improved care management and coordination.
Q: Why should a physician join the organization?
A: By joining ICP, physician members can benefit from the following:
- Access to ICP’s Community Care-Management Team made up of registered nurses, social workers and health coaches who are dedicated to improving patient experience and supporting a care continuum for our highest risk, most vulnerable patients.
- The opportunity to join ICP’s Physician Referral Network with easy electronic referral capabilities to any ICP provider through the implementation of Crimson Medical Referrals.
- Implementation of the Epic Electronic Health Record System at discounted rate.
- Access to ICP’s clinical pharmacists for assistance on prescribing the best and most cost effective medications for your patients along with obtaining regular education on the new pharmaceutical drugs and market trends.
- ICP members have preferred (Tier 1) status for all restricted network opportunities, including the approximately 26,000 Hartford HealthCare employee population and their families.
- Transition clinics (for CHF and COPD to start) that provide complex patients with streamlined access to care after discharge and reduce unnecessary (re)admissions. Partnerships with care-transition programs, including Hartford HealthCare at Home (48-hour, post discharge visit program).
- Share in Incentives earned through providing high quality, low cost care to our patients.
Q: Is the organization contracting with health plans?
A: Integrated Care Partners already has several contracts in place with health plans and has been actively engaged with payers to develop innovative reimbursement models that align financial incentives with our quality goals. The Integrated Care Partners Board of Directors is responsible for approving all contracts offered to its members. If you are a member of Integrated Care Partners, you agree to participate in all contracts within the organization's portfolio.
Q: Where can I get more information?
A: You can send questions or comments to IntegratedCarePartners@hhchealth.org. You also can contact ICP provider relations specialists, who are focused on working with ICP members: