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Employers reaching out directly to providers to build networks.

Posted by Aaron Groffman on Thu, Jul 12, 2012

I just read Emily Berry’s recent article in amednews about some employers attempting to manage their own provider networks. Just imagine the redundancies and inefficiencies if all employers decided to contract directly with healthcare providers.  Not to mention the time providers would spend time dealing directly with employers regarding contracts rather than treating patients.

Building and maintaining provider networks is not and will never be a core-competency for employers, and therefore should be delegated to those who do it all the time.  It would be a better use of an employer’s leverage to insist on better contracts and narrow, high-performance networks that the carrier could turn around and market to others, rather than having a “single-use” network built for an individual employer.

There is no official count of how many employers are contracting directly with providers, but industry insiders say there is certainly growing interest.  Am I wrong about this, or does this sound like an idea that may have merit in certain limited situations, but is clearly not scalable?  What are your thoughts?

Tags: Healthcare, Economy, Medical, Vision, dental




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