Formed in 1983, Southwest Physician Associates (SPA) started as an Independent Practitioner Association (IPA) in the business of accepting medical financial risk from health plans in exchange for fixed payments. This activity ended in 1999. Unlike most others, SPA managed to survive, change focus, and continues to serve its members today. SPA’s focus since 1999 has been to offer “one-stop” credentialing services and fee-for-service master health plan agreements to its member physicians and podiatrists. SPA is strictly a physician-run organization having at its helm a pediatric physician appointed by a member-elected Board of Directors, all of whom are physicians in active practice.
Since the termination of the unsustainable business of risk contracting, one of SPA’s main services has been to bring its members the best health plan agreements that it possibly can within the confines of “Messenger Model” Guidelines. SPA does not engage in the negotiation of prices or price-related terms. SPA’s main purpose is to lower the transaction costs of contracting and reduce the administrative cost of health plan contracting for all parties. SPA’s agents read the “fine print” of agreements and then pass along to SPA members the meaning of the language. Members then make informed, independent decisions as to whether or not to request participation with each health plan through the SPA master agreements. SPA members are always free to contract directly with any health plan.
All contracted health plans have delegated credentialing responsibility to SPA. Therefore, by completing only one credentialing application and upon receiving approval by the SPA Board, the SPA member may request participation in all of the SPA-contracted health plans with no additional paperwork. Currently, contracted health plans are: click here.
Members and their office staff are kept abreast of health plan developments, developments in health care in general, etc., through a weekly communication called the “Monday Morning Facts”.
In addition, SPA Physician Services takes a very active role in offering assistance either by phone or in person to help members resolve health plan problems that they cannot resolve on their own. SPA Physician Services will also work with the practice to identify any systematic performance problems at variance with the contract terms.