All Health Systems seek to strengthen physician loyalty. One way to do so is to create a formal structure through the creation of a Management Services Organization or MSO. MSO’s provide a wide array of practice management and administrative support services to physician group practices, Independent Physician Organizations or IPA’s and Physician Hospital Organizations or PHO’s.
Some common support services that a Health System may offer could include practice management and billing services, participation in the Health System’s centralized call center for ease of patient access, the use of the organizations’ electronic medical record, provider credentialing and payer enrollment services. Some MSO’s offer programs to provide malpractice insurance at group discounts, equipment and facilities leasing at discounted rates and human resources services to include shared staffing and affordable fringe benefits packages.
The advantages of being a part of an MSO are numerous for physicians who may be in private practice or part of a small physician group. One advantage is that the physician is able to focus on patient-centered care without the distraction related to the responsibilities that come with running the business. Additionally, becoming part of an MSO offers physicians the negotiating leverage with payers and other vendors without having to lose much desired autonomy and control. Over time, highly functioning MSO’s offer physicians the opportunity to participate in governance planning, compensation structures, and clinical quality improvement initiatives.
The key to developing a successful Management Services Organization is to develop strong relationships between Health System leadership and the physician participants. A clearly defined management agreement that illustrates what services the MSO will provide, a formal governance structure that provides ample physician representation and the promotion of a true partnership through strong communication channels is essential in taking the MSO to the next level. When physicians trust that the MSO is working in the best interest of the practice based upon a history of credible performance, the opportunities for offering enhanced services that become increasingly affordable are plentiful.