FTC approves health care integration program for Norman

The Norman Physician Hospital Organization four years ago requested an FTC ruling on a proposed clinical integration program. The favorable opinion came last week.
by Paula Burkes Published: February 20, 2013
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— Norman Physician Hospital Organization (NPHO) — a 19-year-old partnership between Norman Regional Health System and the Norman Physicians Association — got the green light from the Federal Trade Commission that its plans to create a clinical integration program, with pricing agreements for physician services to control costs and improve care, won't violate anti-competition laws.

The organization requested the opinion four years ago, Executive Director Gary Clinton said. Last week's ruling, Clinton said, acknowledges that NPHO's programs offer significant value that may lead to improved preventive care and infection rates, reduced medical errors, shortened hospital stays and lower readmission rates, earlier disease detection and elimination of duplicated tests and repetitive completion of registration paperwork.

The Norman Physician Hospital Organization has 280 participating physicians in 38 specialty practice areas.

Federal Trade Commission Assistant Director Markus Meier wrote, “Norman's PHO's proposed clinical integration program offers the potential to create a high degree of interdependence and cooperation among its participating physicians and to generate significant efficiencies in the provision of physician services.”

The communication and sharing of clinical information between the health system and physicians is made possible through eClinical Works, a sophisticated and secured network to coordinate health information across providers using a connected electronic medical record.

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by Paula Burkes
Reporter
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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