Physicians Partnering


This week, on May 3rd, we had our inaugural Physician Engagement meeting. If you were not able to attend, these will be quarterly meetings for the physicians of NPO to gather, learn, build relationships and develop solutions to the changes in health care. We are fortunate in northern Michigan to have a physician community more engaged with each other than is seen in many parts of our country. Dr. Jessica Slocum gave a great review of the current state of end-stage renal disease and all its complexities. We had a great mix of both Primary Care and Specialty physicians as well as a range of physicians just beginning their careers and those who are nearing retirement. It is quite clear that the successful health care solutions focused on the patient will come from such a group as we had last night. We need the wisdom of the physician who has been in practice for 30 years and we need to hear what matters to the physicians just embarking on their careers. Likewise, all of our patients need to have a Primary Care Doctor but on occasion they will also need to be cared for by a specialist in a variety of disciplines. All these groups need to communicate well to ensure that the patient is optimizing their health.

NPO’s vision of the future and the organization’s willingness to invest in Information Technology enables us to communicate as well if not better that most communities around the country. Our EHx Hub and the use of ADT data for population health is cutting edge and innovative technology. This IT focus continues to be something that we are improving and expanding.


Dr. Nathan March gave a wonderful overview and discussion on the importance of Physician Partnering. We have always been dependent on each other but in the new world of health care and population health management we are even more dependent for the successes of patient care, outcomes, and payments for care. These partnerships also extend to hospitals, SNF’s, pharmacies, physical therapy, DME, care management, purchasers, CMH and the myriad of state and local agencies involved in health care.

As a large physicians organization we are able to assist solo independent practitioners with resources enabling them to maintain their independence and freedom. Tools like CybrCare, the new Curbside Consult, enables patients to often receive treatment without having long distance travel to specialist’s offices and it allows the specialist to be compensated for work previously done as gratis. Behavioral health solutions are being worked on by our entire community of caregivers.

We are looking forward to the future with contracts designed to reward partnerships, removing administrative burdens by eliminating things such as prior authorization for medications, referrals, and radiology. We are committed to wellness and community health as our emphasis more than our current disease management. We realize the importance of identifying and supporting Social Determinants of Health. Patients may not get their expensive needed medication if they don’t have the resources to buy food or put gas in their car. Watch your inbox for news of our next gathering in about 3 months.

Happy Spring. Go find a morel but don’t share your spot!


Peter Sneed MD

President Northern Michigan Health Network

Board Member – Northern Physicians Organization

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