After months of practice visits with physicians across the country, another round of recruitment has come to a close for Aledade. Aledade recently submitted our Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) applications the 2017 start year.

The results are astounding. Aledade has doubled in size. Our ACOs now include over 200 total practices, spread across 15 states, responsible for over 200,000 patients. This is an incredible accomplishment for our young company, and a huge opportunity for the independent physicians we partner with to thrive in the new value-based health care system.

But, for us, and the rest of the Aledade team, crisscrossing the country over the last 12 months speaking with physicians offered an amazing opportunity to get to know and learn from primary care doctors and their staff. We have learned a great deal about what independent physicians value, how they operate their practices, and how they view the great transformation taking place in health care.

First and foremost, the primary concern for all of the physicians we speak with is the same: delivering high-quality care to their patients. Primary care physicians know their patients best. Patients, and the community, trust their primary care practice to deliver personal, attentive care. Unfortunately, the current fee-for-service system makes it difficult for them to deliver that. The result is a system that costs a lot, but delivers less than the best. And no doctor wants to settle for anything less than the best for his or her patients.

Second, from Salt Lake City, UT to West Chester, PA and from Bay City, MI to Rockledge, FL, one common theme emerged as we spoke to primary care doctors across the country – they see great potential in the new value-based payment models, and are eager for a system that pays them to keep people healthy. However, they are concerned about how to get there. Can they stay independent or will they have to go work for a hospital or health system? What options do they have, and of those out there — ACOs, hospital employment, IPAs, and other management groups – which are best? What does all of this mean for their future?

Third, if they take the plunge, how can an independent physician make the changes necessary to thrive in a new payment model? They understand that the shift to advanced payment models comes with adjustments across the board for primary care practices. Technology, workflows, quality reporting, and keeping up with payer and regulatory requirements all need attention. As a solo-physician in Sulphur, LA explained to us, physicians know they must take action, but also need the guidance and tools to do so. This is a complex, if not overwhelming, task for many independent physicians leading their own practice. Whether through help updating practice technology or understanding health policy, practices need a supportive partner to help them navigate the transition.

Our mission at Aledade is to be that supportive, knowledgeable partner for physicians throughout their journey adapting to a value-based health system. Aledade’s on-the-ground staff provide hands-on help for physicians as they implement new technology and workflows. Our policy staff can walk physicians and their practice team through new reporting and reimbursement structures. Our technology gives physicians visibility, for the first time, into what’s happening with their patients outside of the four walls of their practices. And, our network of like-minded physicians across 15 states shares best practices from the field.

This is how Aledade has grown so much this past year, and this is how we are going to deliver the high-quality care patients deserve this year – and for years to come.

To our newest 2017 practice partners, we welcome you to the Aledade family. We’re committed to working tirelessly on behalf of your practice and your patients. And we will advocate for you every step of the way.