News

Specialty Solutions Releases 2015 Quality Report for Specialty Physician Practices

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine – Specialty Solutions today announced the release of its second annual quality report, which is the leading assessment of select specialty care in Maine. The 2015 Quality Report Cards reflect several improvements based on feedback from patients in each of the specialty practices assessed.

Specialty Solutions is an association of 11 independent physician practices working together to improve the coordination and quality of care and to reduce healthcare costs. The association includes more than 250 physicians across 15 specialties.

The 2015 report includes separate report cards for each practice, with additional detail on the areas measured and more information on quality initiatives being implemented at each practice. Specialty Solutions also amended and expanded the patient-centered metrics, focusing on the measures that patients identified as most important to them. The updated format also presents results in an easier to use format.

“Providing quality data that is relevant and meaningful to our patients is an important step toward improving the quality and coordination of patient care,” said Stephen Gorman, DO, president of Chest Medicine Associates and Specialty Solutions board member. “It is clear that patients across Specialty Solutions practices are seeking convenient, clear access to the information contained in these report cards to help them make more informed, confident decisions about their healthcare needs.”

The 2015 report cards also feature an enhanced rating system. Previously, practices received a star or no star, indicating whether they met the standard for each metric. The 2015 report cards include a three-tiered system, indicating that a practice exceeds the standard (2 stars), meets the standard (1 star) or needs improvement (NI).

Across all practices reporting their results, nearly all of the standards were met or exceeded.

“Specialty Solutions has a very active quality committee that collaborates not only to develop a framework for reporting quality metrics, but also to establish best practices,” stated Beverly Neugebauer, executive director of Coastal Women’s Healthcare and Specialty Solutions board member. “We utilize the report card results and other peer discussions to establish priorities and then develop strategies to help enhance quality improvement programs at each practice. Our goal is to help patients at all of the Specialty Solutions practices receive higher quality, more patient-centered care.”

Key measures the group assesses include metrics relevant to each respective specialty, as well as shared metrics in six high-level categories: Process Management, Quality Improvement Processes, Competency, Risk Management, Outcomes, and Patient Centeredness. It is anticipated that the standardization of measurement will not only enhance quality improvement efforts at Specialty Solutions practices but also provide quality and reporting standards that will shape specialty quality measurement throughout the state.

For more information about Specialty Solutions or to obtain a copy of the 2015 Specialty Solutions Quality Report Cards, please visit the organization’s website, www.specialtysolutionsmaine.com or contact Beth Austin at 207-774-2345 x113.

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Two Organizations Representing Independent Doctors Announce Partnership

(Winter Park, Fla. and South Portland, Maine) — The Association of Independent Doctors (AID) and Specialty Solutions today announced that Specialty Solutions and its 250 physician members will all become members of AID, forming the organization’s first affiliate chapter.

AID is a non-profit, membership organization based in Winter Park, Fla., that represents the interests of independent doctors. Specialty Solutions, domiciled in South Portland, Maine, was formed in 2011 with the purpose of supporting independent specialty physician practices in Maine.

“This announcement marks the single biggest membership boost in the association’s history,” said Marni Jameson, executive director of AID. “As our first affiliate chapter, the doctors belonging to Specialty Solutions have the opportunity to establish what will effectively become the model for other affiliated chapters around the country.”

AID now includes more than 600 doctor members across 10 states. Specialty Solutions represents approximately 250 physicians across more than 15 specialties in Maine and New Hampshire.

“We are excited about this new partnership and look forward to exploring how our collaboration can provide enhanced and more diverse support for independent physicians both locally and nationally,” stated Beth Austin, executive director of Specialty Solutions. “Together, we can provide a stronger collective voice for independent physicians.”

The interest in the partnership emerged based on the synergy of the two organizations’ missions. Both groups were established to promote the wellbeing of independent physician practices. These efforts have become increasingly important in the current healthcare environment in which a growing number of medical practices are owned by hospitals and healthcare systems. Independent doctors play an essential role the healthcare economy, as they provide a number of advantages to patients, providers, and the community as a whole, such as providing more cost effective services, maintaining competition in the marketplace, and preserving patient choice.

For more information about AID, visit www.AID-US.org. For more information about Specialty Solutions, visit www.specialtysolutionsmaine.com.

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Collaboration Leads to Comprehensive Lung Cancer Screening Program
MMC, Chest Medicine Associates, Spectrum Medical Group, Maine Center for Cancer Medicine Partner to Save Lives

PORTLAND, Maine — A Comprehensive Lung Cancer Screening Program using low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) for eligible patients is now available in Maine.

The new program is offered through a unique collaboration between Maine Medical Center’s Cancer Institute and three specialty physician practices: Chest Medicine Associates (CMA), Maine Center for Cancer Medicine (MCCM) and Spectrum Medical Group. The practices are all members of Specialty Solutions, an association of 11 independent physician practices working together to improve the coordination and quality of care, optimize operational efficiency, cultivate partnerships, and reduce costs.

CMA will serve as the hub of the program, providing the initial point of contact for patients referred for screening services and coordinating all follow up care with other providers.

“The most common form of lung cancer can often be cured if it is found early enough,” said Dr. Mayuko Fukunaga, a pulmonologist with CMA. “This partnership will lead to the increase in early detection in Maine, where lung cancer and associated deaths exceed the national average.”

The program design is based on the work of an MMC multidisciplinary task force that includes representatives from pulmonary medicine, thoracic oncology surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, radiology, primary care physicians, and related staff members.

“This collaborative effort demonstrates how Specialty Solutions is improving health for Maine communities,” said David Landry, chief executive officer at Spectrum and board member of Specialty Solutions.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. and its mortality rate has not changed dramatically in the past 20 years, mainly due to delayed detection. According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer accounts for 27% of all cancer deaths – by far the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. Approximately 224,210 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in 2014 with an estimated 159,260 deaths. Smoking is the biggest risk factor, accounting for about 85% of lung cancers.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends current or former heavy smokers between the ages of 55 and 80 years old be screened every year with a test called low-dose computed topography (also called a low-dose CT scan). Heavy smoking is defined as a smoking history of at least 30 “pack years” or more (a “pack year” means smoking an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for one year).

As with any medical test or procedure, patients should talk with their primary care provider to see if the lung cancer screening test is right for them. The Maine Comprehensive s Lung Cancer Screening Program will provide patients with appropriate counseling to help them understand the potential benefits, harms, and uncertainties related to low-dose CT scans, and to make decisions based on their own personal values and preferences.

For more information about the lung cancer screening program, please contact Chris Snow at (207) 207-828-1122 or csnow@cmamaine.com or visit the following web site: mmc.org/lungcancerscreening.

About Maine Medical Center
Maine Medical Center (MMC), recognized as the number-one ranked hospital in Maine by U.S. News and World Report for 2013-2014, is a complete health care resource for the people of Greater Portland and the entire state, as well as northern New England. Incorporated in 1864, MMC is the state’s largest medical center, licensed for 637 beds and employing nearly 6,500 people. MMC’s unique role as both a community hospital and a referral center requires an unparalleled depth and breadth of services, including an active educational program and a world-class biomedical research center. As a nonprofit institution, Maine Medical Center provides nearly 23 percent of all the charity care delivered in Maine. MMC is a member of the MaineHealth system, a growing family of health care services in northern New England. For more information, visit www.mmc.org.

About Specialty Solutions
Chest Medicine Associates (CMA), Maine Center for Cancer Medicine (MCCM) and Spectrum Medical Group are members of Specialty Solutions, an association of 11 independent physician practices working together to improve the coordination and quality of care, optimize operational efficiency, cultivate partnerships, and reduce costs. The association includes more than 250 physicians across 15 specialties. For more information about Specialty Solutions, visit www.specialtysolutionsmaine.com.

SPECIALTY SOLUTIONS PUBLISHES QUALITY REPORT CARD FOR SPECIALTY PHYSICIAN PRACTICES

January 22, 2014 – South Portland, Maine – Specialty Solutions today announced that they have released a quality report card focused on specialty medicine.

Specialty Solutions is an association of 11 independent physician practices working together to improve the coordination and quality of care, optimize operational efficiency, cultivate partnerships, and reduce costs. The association includes more than 250 physicians across 15 specialties.

“A primary area of focus for Specialty Solutions is to improve the quality and coordination of patient care,” stated Stephen Gorman, DO, president of Chest Medicine Associates and Specialty Solutions board member. “Through a unique collaboration, we have developed a mechanism to allow member practices to share successes in their quality improvement programs and also identify areas for development. Through continued cooperation and knowledge sharing, these efforts will help all member practices raise the bar and, ultimately, enhance patient experience.”

The practices developed a shared framework to report and measure quality initiatives, which are shown on the 2013 Specialty Solutions Quality Report Card. While the member practices continue to utilize metrics relevant to their respective specialties, quality measures are also reported jointly in six high-level categories: Process Management, Quality Improvement Processes, Competency, Risk Management, Outcomes, and Patient Centeredness. It is anticipated that the standardization of measurement will not only enhance quality improvement efforts at Specialty Solutions practices but also provide quality and reporting standards that will shape specialty quality measurement throughout the state.

“Maine is one of the nation’s leaders in measuring and reporting healthcare quality. We’ve made great strides both locally and nationally in quality reporting, but most efforts to date have not been focused on specialty medicine for a variety of reasons,” stated Beverly Neugebauer, executive director of Coastal Women’s Healthcare and board member of Specialty Solutions. “Specialty Solutions identified a need and worked collaboratively to address it. Our inaugural report card is just the first step in the process. It is our plan to continue to enhance and refine these metrics and continue reporting on our progress.”

The development of the quality report card was spearheaded by a subcommittee comprised of individuals from Specialty Solutions member practices. Subcommittee members include: Stuart Abramson, MD; Brenda Caron, RN; Steve D’Amato; Stephen Gorman, DO; Thalia Mayes, MD; Rebecca Murray, RN; Beverly Neugebauer; Cheryl Pelletier, RN; Linda Ruterbories, ANP; Barbara Slager, MD; and Tracey Weisberg, MD.

For more information about Specialty Solutions or to obtain a copy of the 2013 Specialty Solutions Quality Report Card, please visit the organization’s website www.specialtysolutionsmaine.com or contact Beth Austin at 207-774-2345 x13.

 SPECIALTY SOLUTIONS AND MAINE COMMUNITY HEALTH OPTIONS ANNOUNCE INNOVATIVE CONTRACT

January 6, 2014 – South Portland and Lewiston, Maine – Specialty Solutions and Maine Community Health Options (MCHO) today announced that they have entered into a unique risk-based contract, focused on imaging services.

Specialty Solutions is an association of 11 independent physician practices working together to improve the coordination and quality of care, optimize operational efficiency, cultivate partnerships, and reduce costs. The association includes 15 specialties and represents more than 250 physicians.

MCHO is Maine’s only nonprofit, member-directed health insurance CO-OP that is working to improve the health of Maine people and positively affect the Maine economy. They began providing health insurance coverage to Maine people on January 1, 2014.

“The healthcare climate is changing and payment models need to evolve to reflect that,” stated David Landry, CEO of Spectrum Medical Group and board member of Specialty Solutions. “Specialty Solutions recognizes that the standard fee-for-service reimbursement model is not the most effective. This risk-based collaboration with MCHO is an important milestone. The focus on imaging is timely, since it can be a costly line item for purchasers and payers, but the experience in the initial contract period will also provide a platform for developing broader, more innovative solutions in the future.”

“For both Specialty Solutions and Maine Community Health Options, a key area of focus is developing innovative approaches to improve healthcare delivery in Maine. This contract is a great example of that,” stated Robert J. Hillman, COO of MCHO. “The thought leadership and collaborative spirit demonstrated by Specialty Solutions during the contracting process was remarkable. The results are extremely well aligned with MCHO and this represents a collaborative vision for improving healthcare payment systems in Maine going forward.”

Risk-based contracts can be effective for managing cost, as well as ensuring that patients receive high-quality care.

“Specialty Solutions is focused on improving the overall value of healthcare, which includes looking at both the economics and the quality of patient care that is delivered. This initiative helps us improve in both areas,” stated Barbara Slager, MD, president of Coastal Women’s Healthcare and board member of Specialty Solutions. “The goals established in the contract will require that our practices continue to consistently and appropriately manage utilization. By doing so, it reduces waste in the system and ensures that patients receive the right care at the right time.”

For more information about Specialty Solutions or Maine Community Health Options, please visit the organizations online at www.specialtysolutionsmaine.com or www.maineoptions.org or contact Beth Austin at 207-774-2345 x13.