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Rural doctors need tools to help patients, communities

June 20, 2014
By Dr. Donald R. Klitgaard , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

No matter what one may think about the Accountable Care Act, the fact remains that physicians and other health care providers must move forward to transform their practices and lead the process of improving healthcare for the patients and populations we serve. While many primary care physicians have sought the relative safety and stability of employment by large hospitals and healthcare systems, many independent-minded physicians, clinics, and rural hospital systems throughout the state have elected to seek other affiliations that will allow continued independence and the opportunity to remain in charge of their own practice destiny.

One alternative is the Heartland Rural Physician Alliance (HRPA). Formed in 2012, HRPA is a leading proponent of the Patient Centered Medical Home model. Simply, HRPA members' focus is on their patients, on quality care, and the well-being of their communities. Physicians, clinics, and hospitals, especially in Iowa's rural communities are always seeking innovative ways to do just that. On July 1st, HRPA is conducting information sessions on a new Medicare Shared Savings Accountable Care Organization (ACO), which will help practices organize high quality care and learn to operate well within the quickly changing healthcare payment environment. Physicians, as well as practice and clinic administrators, are invited to attend a session to learn about participation in this Medicare Shared Savings ACO and how to enroll. The ACO session will be held at the Ramada Inn on Merle Hay in Des Moines, or interested individuals may elect to participate in a webinar, also scheduled for July 1.

Continued access to high quality health care in Iowa's communities is a priority, but it takes work and a concerted effort by health care providers and community leaders. Costs and revenue must be carefully balanced as physician practices make the transitions that are required to move to higher value care for patients. The Heartland Rural Physician Alliance is working hard to ensure that access and high quality healthcare are available throughout Iowa. For interested providers and practice administrators, more information about HRPA and the July 1 Medicare Shared Savings ACO sessions can be found on

Article Photos

Dr. Donald R. Klitgaard

Dr. Klitgaard is President of the Heartland Rural Physician Alliance




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