The concept of “Super Groups” has existed for many years. In early 2000, I hosted a dinner meeting of prominent rheumatologists to discuss formation of a single specialty group. These leading rheumatologists unfortunately at this time, did not believe development of a super-group was prudent as no one physician felt the need to make a change. The environment was less hostile towards patient and doctors were relatively happy with the autonomy of clinical decision making inherent in their payor contracts.
As we fast forward to March, 2013, the medical landscape for patient and physicians had drastically changed. Physicians were more frustrated with the administrative burden imposed on their practices to deliver quality health care to their patients. So with a little momentum, hard work and an enormous amount of fortitude and tenacity we began the laborious development of the Florida Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates. (FARA) Initially, guided by myself and great friend and practice consultant , Dr. Steve Chaney we began developing the vision of a physician and patient centric specialty practice model.
WE ALL BELIEVE WE HAVE THE POWER TO
CHANGE AND IMPROVE THE PATIENT JOURNEY.
To collect quality real time longitudinal data never before achieved, change and improve the culture of medicine to be inclusive and not divisive. By example, we are ensuring the survival of our specialty and more importantly the service and delivery model that can serve our patients and our communities.
Recognizing the need to incorporate seasoned healthcare executives, in July 2013 we tested and launched the expansion of our patient centric model and attracted 52 rheumatologists who made a small economic investment and a big time commitment to transform how Rheumatological care should be delivered. Our steering committee and volunteers evolved into a formal company with a physician controlled, owned and managed leadership board with active working committees.
The power that comes from a family of rheumatologists working together to advance quality patient care has allowed us to now lead the specialty profession in helping patients achieve quality outcomes through the use of common clinical pathways, approaching the uniqueness of every patient journey to collect relevant clinical data in our customized technology platform. We also possess the power to serve our patients better by integrating the financial elements of care that have become more critical to patient preference and outcomes.
We also recognized that business of medicine is reality not just for our patients but also our practices and fellow rheumatologists struggling to deliver quality care. Knowing we discovered an important element to redefine the patient journey, we also needed to attract superlative healthcare business people to scale and design a model for all Rheumatologists to avail themselves with important tools for their patients while bringing innovation and business experience to enhance the specialty rheumatology practice. This was the genesis of Bendcare a multi-stakeholder optimization company focused on aligning the goals of patients and physicians together, and then reaching out to all the service companies associated with delivering quality and innovation. Bendcare also helps physician groups organize and optimize their practice models which lead to the transformation of FARA to AARA, The American Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates which is now serving Rheumatologists in seventeen states.
Many thanks to some amazing physician colleagues who have sacrificed their time and contributed with great passion; Jeff Ritter, Marc Jaffe , Jamie Pachon, Trisha Mueller, Kevin Stone, Elias Halpert, Alan Alberts, Azarel Abinader, Barry Waters, David Makover , Marguerita Garces, and my office partner Keivan Dehghanpishe who puts up willingly without complaint for the maniacal hours dedicated to redefining rheumatology.
To all of these excellent physicians and talented people, I offer sincere appreciation and gratitude. We have not only created a National company for rheumatologists but a preferred destination of care for patients suffering from musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases.
We all believe we have the power to change and improve the patient journey, collect quality real time longitudinal data never before achieved, change and improve the culture of medicine to be inclusive and not divisive. By example, we are ensuring the survival of our specialty and more importantly the service and delivery model that can serve our patients and our communities.