Catholic Medical Partners: Dennis Horrigan, Chief Executive Officer

by HCE Exchange on April 20, 2011

Aligning physicians, hospitals and other care providers, particularly through an electronic medical record, is the future direction of healthcare. Catholic Medical Partners, formerly Catholic Independent Practice Association (CIPA), is leading the way in promoting this coordination and alignment. CMP is a membership organization of about 880 predominantly independent physicians in Western New York, as well as Catholic Health and Mount St. Mary’s Hospital.

“We are a ‘virtual organization’ that provides an overriding organizational structure around improving the delivery of healthcare to populations,” said Chief Executive Officer Dennis Horrigan. “We engage independent doctors and hospitals to make that happen.”

Meeting core objectives to improve and integrate care

Horrigan said CMP has five strong objectives to assist its members in providing optimal care to patients and position them to move into the future of healthcare, especially in light of healthcare reform. CMP’s objectives are as follows:

1.       Improving clinical interventions for high-risk populations. This is done through an active disease management program that takes place in the clinician’s office and through common guidelines and patient registries.

2.       Assisting with interoperability and optimal use of electronic health records. Eighty percent of physician members have an HER, and CMP is working to improve the exchange of information among those systems.

3.       Educating patients.

4.       Assisting practices in meeting standards of patient-centered care through its Patient Centered Medical Home leadership program.

5.       Becoming a health business model for accredited care organizations. CMP is helping members examine how to care for populations and produce a margin in the future.

The EHR is an essential part of achieving these objectives and supporting members. Horrigan said CMP has made significant investments in information systems, data warehouses and analytics. The organization’s current focus is improving “interoperability and the ability for doctors with EHRs to exchange clinical information. We envision all our doctors being in a connected system using best-practice medicine and a patient-centered approach to care.”

The Patient Centered Medical Home program emphasizes using systematic, coordinated care that supports access, communication and patient involvement, while controlling the cost of care. Practices that streamline and follow guidelines related to providing care within this model receive recognition through CMP. In addition to the model for practices, CMP has a leadership series that assists practices in establishing the processes and workflows necessary to achieve recognition.

Key values that move the organization forward

CMP is organized around key healthcare system objectives that fit within the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations in its report “Across the Chasm: Six Aims for Changing the Health Care System.” The organization’s corporate programs focus on these six aims–to make healthcare safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient and equitable.

In addition to these six aims, CMP follows the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Triple Aim–the simultaneous pursuit of three aims: improving the experience of care, improving the health of populations, and reducing per capita costs of health care.

By focusing on these core values and goals, CMP is poised to respond – and help its members respond – to the changing healthcare landscape. However, preparation does not come without challenges.

“The future of healthcare involves containing costs,” Horrigan said. “This is going to require a new business model. Right now, the business model for hospital is fee for service. The new world is going to be payment for a population. We need to align supply chains of doctors, hospitals, labs, pharmacies to make the system work better and create the organizational culture and execution to make this happen. That is the biggest challenge.”

So far, CMP’s model has shown improvements in healthcare within its region.

“We have seen reduced readmission rates and improvement in the treatment of diabetes,” Horrigan said. “We have also seen improvement in doctors using the HER with drug-to-drug interaction lists, clinical documentation and more.”

Horrigan looks forward to the organization’s role in the future of healthcare and continues to promote the Patient Centered Medical Home program as a model for patient involvement in care and optimal utilization of electronic health records.

-by Patricia Chaney

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