This article originally appeared in Becker’s Orthopedic Review on April 27, 2020

Jason Scalise, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Phoenix-based The CORE Institute and vice chairman of its management company HOPCo, outlines the practice’s main considerations as it prepares for elective surgeries to return. 

Question: What is your strategy for ramping surgery back up? 

Dr. Jason Scalise: Throughout this process, we have continued to care for patients’ urgent and acute musculoskeletal needs. Given the size of our organization, that continued to represent a considerable number of patients. We have adhered to local and national guidelines and postponed elective surgeries but have been in constant communication with patients who have been affected by this. We have prioritized patients based on most urgent needs as the restrictions begin to be eased. We have already planned for additional work hours at facilities such as our surgical specialty hospital to accommodate the surge in demand. 

Q: What is the biggest challenge for safety of patients and staff? 

JS: The safety of our patients and staff is our highest priority. As the restrictions in elective surgery are beginning to be lifted and the demand to address the backlog of care increases, a measured approach will be needed to ensure appropriate screening remains as we suspect it will continue to be recommended for the foreseeable future. We have implemented a robust screening infrastructure including antibody testing. By remaining true to our protocols and guidelines, I am confident we can mitigate any safety challenges that could otherwise occur. 

Q: What is your current backlog of surgical cases and how do you plan to recover financially? 

JS: Our backlog of postponed surgical cases is extensive. As we have been vigilant with our operations and finances throughout this process and have implemented extensive planning around potential challenges, we don’t really think of it as a financial ‘recovery’ per se. Instead, we feel we are well positioned to continue to move forward with patient care and practice growth opportunities. Due to our at-risk payer models, our savings-based revenues have increased. 

Q: What will your practice look like a year from now? 

JS:At the moment, it seems likely that several aspects or consequences of this pandemic will remain, at least in part. Social distancing, face masking and perhaps ongoing testing may continue to have a role a year from now. We also expect that most if not all of the telehealth opportunities will remain and perhaps even be encouraged going forward such that a new level of ‘virtual encounters’ may persist in the continuum of how we practice.

It also seems abundantly clear from all of the large payers around the country with whom we speak that as they also attempt to recover, a massive push towards alternative or at-risk payer models is eminent as a way of shifting even further the cost burden to providers and linking reimbursement to sustained performance. In order to perform well, physician practices should be prepared to quickly engage in robust data tracking and reporting capabilities, the ability demonstrate consistent clinical outcomes and be able to function in a population health type environment where a larger continuum of the patient’s care than just the surgical episode is the responsibility of the surgeon. Practices without the ability to do so quickly should look for partnerships that allow them to incorporate such resources. 

HOPCo creates new Southeast Specialty Care Network and selects Southeast Orthopedic Specialists as its first practice partner

Jacksonville, Florida (July 26, 2019) – Southeast Orthopedic Specialists (SOS) of Jacksonville, Florida, has partnered with Healthcare Outcomes Performance Company (HOPCo), the national leader in the delivery of musculoskeletal practice management and value-based care solutions, to become the first organization in HOPCo’s new Southeast Specialty Care Network, LLC. The new HOPCo Southeast Specialty Care Network is expected to increase efficiencies and reduce overall costs associated with common orthopedic treatments, resulting in better care and lower bills for patients.

The network offers a clinically integrated care platform for the Florida orthopedic care market incorporating HOPCo’s quality outcomes tracking analytics and software tools, proprietary claims analytics, and value-based care resources. With these tools in place, physicians receive real-time data, assuring the greatest likelihood of superior outcomes for patients while lowering costs for providers, hospitals, health insurers and the patients themselves. Combined, these systems and tools have been proven to help health care industry partners throughout the U.S. achieve superior clinical outcomes and cost savings.

“HOPCo’s model of driving down the cost of care while improving quality and aligning stakeholders has proven to be a win-win for providers, hospitals, payors, and patients alike,” said Jason Scalise, MD, HOPCo’s Vice Chairman and Director of National Physician Integration. “The HOPCo Southeast Specialty Care Network in Florida will catalyze the ability for musculoskeletal providers in Florida to clinically integrate, collaborate with payors and health system partners and drive great value for the patients throughout the region.”

SOS Chief Executive Officer, Donnie Romine will serve as the President of HOPCo Southeast Specialty Care Network. Mr. Romine called the partnership with HOPCo the start of a value-based paradigm shift.

“A challenge to our business has been the relatively fragmented nature of our local Florida market, with providers, payors, and others working in completely different systems,” said Romine. “By leveraging HOPCo’s turnkey platform, the HOPCo Southeast Specialty Care Network will provide high-quality health care organizations in the region with the opportunity to rapidly participate in unique value-based care programs in an integrated manner.”

Connecting SOS’s clinical foundation with HOPCo’s Specialty Care Network analytics and care management systems results in a comprehensive and scalable musculoskeletal care management platform in Florida. For more information, visit hopco.com.

About Southeast Orthopedic Specialists

Established in 2001, Southeast Orthopedic Specialists is a regional leader in musculoskeletal care. SOS was founded on the principle of providing high-quality, comprehensive care in the North Florida region. The entire spectrum of orthopedic care is provided to patients including: orthopedic surgery, spine care, physiatry, pain management, chiropractic, podiatry and physical therapy.  Physicians at Southeast Orthopedic Specialists are leading experts in their field with decades of experience, including the completion of multiple fellowships and groundbreaking research.  Visit www.se-ortho.com to learn more.

Phoenix, Arizona (June 14, 2018) – Healthcare Outcomes Performance Company (HOPCo), the management firm behind the nationally renowned The CORE Institute, today signed a partnership agreement with another stellar name in the field, Northern Arizona Orthopaedics (NAO).

“HOPCo and NAO share a history of commitment to quality clinical outcomes,” said David J. Jacofsky, MD, HOPCo’s Chairman and CEO. “Through this partnership, we will build a unique, clinically integrated experience for the benefit of our patients, our health system partners, and the community at large throughout central and northern Arizona.”

NAO’s Chairman of the Board of Directors and Company President Tim Bonatus, DO called the partnership a new era of collaboration. “We have been impressed with HOPCo’s interest in, and capacity for, clinical innovation and proactive preparation for payor reform, and HOPCo has been impressed with NAO’s brand and corporate culture, the quality of care provided, and the history of leadership in our community.”

Connecting NAO and The CORE Institute’s clinics and surgery centers through HOPCo’s analytics and care management systems results in something unprecedented: a comprehensive orthopedic care management platform stretching from Phoenix to Flagstaff and beyond. All of that is powered by HOPCo’s state-of-the-art healthcare information technology tools, providing real-time data to physicians, assuring the best likelihood of a good outcome for patients, and lowering costs for providers, hospitals, health insurers, and the patients themselves.

Through its relationships with The CORE Institute, The CORE Institute Specialty Hospital, Banner Health and others, HOPCo has developed an international reputation for innovation, research, and delivery of world-class musculoskeletal care.

The management company behind the internationally-renowned The CORE Institute has adopted a new name along with its expanded mission: HOPCo (Healthcare Outcomes Performance Company). And HOPCo is already achieving what few thought was possible: proving one can  provide better outcomes for orthopedic patients while lowering costs for patients, hospitals, and insurers.

“We are perhaps the only highly specialized, vertically integrated company with a proven track record in payor reform strategies including population health management”, says David J. Jacofsky, M.D., HOPCo’s Chairman and CEO. “From managing physician practices in new and unique ways, to partnering with hospitals and payors, HOPCo’s management services are delivering optimum patient care and increased profitability through value creation.  We will take on full population-based risk in the musculoskeletal space based on our platform’s performance.”

To achieve that, HOPCo has created unique, proprietary I.T. tools and decision support platforms that allow physicians and hospitals to easily drive evidence-based medicine, track and prevent complications in real time, and decrease the overall cost of care while aligning physicians, payor, and hospitals.

“We’re now able to produce validated predictive analytics,”, says Dr. Jacofsky, “assuring patients the best likelihood of a good outcome”.

The company’s preeminent role in Clinically Integrated Networks (CIN) is detailed on HOPCo’s new website, hopco.com,  along with its demonstrated success at managing population health through its medical economics team, claims analytic tools, and programs centered around wellness and prevention.

HOPCo’s clients and partners include impressive names such as Banner Health, and The CORE Institute, the largest orthopedic practice in the southwest United States.

In an era of growing uncertainty in healthcare, it seems HOPCo may be just what the doctor ordered.