San Diego Medical Society Alliance Looks to Expand Doctors’ ‘Purchasing Power’
A not-for-profit business alliance formed in January by the San Diego County Medical Society recently became operational and will initially focus on lowering administrative costs for providers, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. According to medical society President Dr. James Hay, "pooling the purchasing power of the medical society's 2,200 members" -- who represent roughly 50% of all the practicing non-military doctors in the county -- will help the California Health Alliance negotiate better rates for supplies and reduce member costs. Antitrust laws prohibit the alliance from negotiating with health plans over reimbursement rates, so the group will concentrate its purchasing power on "services such as electronic medical records, computer purchasing and billings and collections." Hay said that the alliance will not negotiate for clinical services or supplies because such decisions are better made by individual physician practices. He added that "other medical societies in the state have operations to help members deal with specific administrative costs, [but] the alliance is unique because it tackles a broad scope of business matters" (Fong, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.