Asessing the Extent of Integration Achieved through Physician-Hospital Arrangements

May/June 1998
Dynan L, Bazzoli GJ, and Burns LR

Journal of Health Care Management--May/June 1998

In this article we examine management service organizations (MSOs), physician-hospital organizations (PHOs), hospital-affiliated independent practice associations (IPAs), and hospital-sponsored "group practices without walls" (GPWWs) that allow physicians to retain their practices and link hospitals and health systems to physicians through contractual arrangements. Also examined were medical foundations (MFs), integrated salary models (ISMs), and integrated health organizations (IHOs) that own the physical assets of physician practices and contract with payors for physician and hospital services. The research provides several new insights for understanding the structure and process of physician-hospital integration. It was found that the extent of processual integration in physician-hospital organizational arrangements can be measured along six dimensions: administrative and practice management services; physician financial risk-sharing; joint ventures to create new services; computer linkages; physician involvement in strategic planning; and salaried physician arrangements. These dimensions are consistent with the conceptual and empirical dimensions developed by others. These findings refute the notion raised by some industry observers that the new physician-hospital organizational models simply formalize integrative activities already in place. Earlier studies from the 1980s reported that hospitals integrated physicians through involvement in governance, capital planning, and the provision of practice management services. In contrast, we found that current integration.