February 28, 2017
Tacoma, Washington, February 28, 2017 – Back in 1995, 12 physicians from 7 small primary care practices located in Pierce County had a vision: provide better, more coordinated care to their patients while remaining independent in spite of the physician practice management corporate consolidation which was then occurring at a whirlwind pace throughout the region. That vision led to the birth of Northwest Physicians Network (NPN), an independent practice association (IPA) headquartered in Tacoma.
Fast forward to 2017, that same initial vision lives on: a belief in the important role that private practice physicians have in the overall healthcare system, their patients’ lives, and in the communities they serve. No longer a small group of physicians with a dream, NPN has now grown into the largest multi-specialty provider network in Washington with over 1,000 community-based primary care and specialty providers in 300 locations throughout 12 counties. NPN providers offer clinical services ranging from pediatrics to geriatrics. The network complements its 59 medical specialties with nearly 300 diagnostic and treatment facilities throughout the Puget Sound region providing a full-spectrum of medical services, including community-based ambulatory surgical and endoscopy centers, cancer care, pain management centers, advanced imaging centers, skilled nursing facilities and rehabilitation services.
Private practice physicians today are faced with increasing regulations, greater administrative demands and confusing reimbursement systems that lead to longer hours, declining income, less job satisfaction and more stress. As a result, many have had enough and are opting for institutional employment. While employment is certainly an option, it is not the only option. To succeed while remaining independent, physicians need help in navigating all of the changes and administrative demands they’re faced with. Through an affiliation with an IPA like NPN that is fully integrated with a care management infrastructure and experience managing risk-sharing contracts, independent physicians gain the benefit of being part of a larger organization along with the resources and support they need in order to thrive as the market shifts from volume to value based reimbursement which rewards physicians for improving care coordination and patient outcomes while controlling costs.
NPN’s growth and the success of its affiliated providers has brought national recognition to the organization for providing independent physicians access to industry-leading clinical integration tools, technology and support to improve efficiency, communication and care coordination, while strengthening the financial health of affiliated practices. The visionary behind the NPN “model” has been Dr. Rick MacCornack who retired as the company’s Chief Executive Officer January 1, 2017. Under his leadership in the last eighteen months of his tenure, NPN expanded its practice support services, introduced additional clinical integration tools and experienced explosive growth, increasing the number of network providers and ambulatory surgical and imaging centers by 90%.
Prior to his departure, Dr. MacCornack also had a vision for NPN’s organizational structure, believing that a new kind of leadership was necessary given the growth and development that had been reached to date. While in the past all the company’s functional departments reported up through Dr. MacCornack and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Scott Kronlund, a Leadership Team was created to continue the company’s extraordinary growth while continuing to add value and support to affiliated practices.
Effective January 1, 2017 Scott F. Kronlund, M.D., MS assumed the role of President in addition to retaining his responsibilities as Chief Medical Officer. A Board Certified Family Physician and Certified Physician Executive, Scott joined NPN in 2008 as a Strategic Planning Consultant prior to becoming Chief Medical Officer. His work has centered on network expansion, enhancing care coordination and physician communication, physician recruitment, care management, and population health management. In addition to retaining these duties, in his new role as President, Scott is responsible for driving organizational excellence within the network and representing the organization to payors, policy-makers, delivery systems, and other strategic partners.
Jesse Gamez joined NPN as Chief Operating Officer in November, 2016. He is responsible for the measurement and effectiveness of all internal and external processes to ensure that NPN continues to have the operational systems and administrative and reporting procedures in place to effectively grow the organization and ensure its financial strength and operational efficiency. Prior to joining NPN, Jesse held senior executive roles during his 18 years with Kaiser Permanente including Director of Operations, Director of Regional Clinical Services and CEO of Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center. Additionally, he served as COO of Presence Health Partners, a physician-led health care system of over 1,000 providers and 150 sites of care serving 4 million patients, COO for FamilyCare Inc., a Medicaid/Medicare Advantage health plan in Oregon, and COO of Performance Health Technology, a Third Party Administrator in Salem, OR.
Robert Burr joined NPN as Chief Technology Officer in December, 2016. He provides the operational experience and technological vision necessary to grow NPN through the use of technological resources. He collaborates across the organization to cultivate new ideas and facilitate IT development of innovative programs and initiatives and is responsible for ensuring that IT is aligned with the company’s overall strategic goals. Prior to joining NPN, Robert was Vice President of Operations for Highline Medical Services Organization, a Physician/Hospital Organization with a network of primary care and specialty providers throughout Southwest King County, WA.
Change is today’s reality in healthcare. Many have commented that private practices are doomed. A clinically integrated IPA represents an offensive strategy for physicians to preserve independence while eliminating the isolation, administrative burdens and risks associated with private practice and providing a strategic “road map” to keep private practice relevant in the marketplace. NPN believes that the IPA-Physician partnership will transform local healthcare and allow private practices to survive and thrive.