New partnership for Duluth-based IntegrityPatients at many of the Northland’s independent clinics will have access to more specialties because of a partnership between Duluth-based Integrity Health Network and a similar group in the Twin Cities.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
Patients at many of the Northland’s independent clinics will have access to more specialties because of a partnership between Duluth-based Integrity Health Network and a similar group in the Twin Cities.
The arrangement between Integrity and the Collaborative Care Cooperative was announced Sept. 28 at a symposium in Brainerd, said Jeffrey Tucker, Integrity’s CEO.
Integrity represents 225 physicians in 20 communities in Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin. Clinics in the network include the Duluth Family Practice Center, Northland Family Physicians, Kundel Pediatric Associates and Lake Superior Internal Medicine in Duluth and the Raiter Clinic in Cloquet, among others.
Collaborative represents 500 physicians in the Twin Cities metro area, as well as some out-of-state physicians, an Integrity Health news release said.
“They have a wider array of specialties than we currently have,” Tucker said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
Physicians at clinics in the Integrity network will be able to consult with specialists in the Collaborative network via telephone and e-mail, Tucker said. Eventually, a telemedicine network will allow video connections between doctors in different clinics.
Collaborative, whose administrative staff consists of chief administrative officer Douglas Hanson, will be able to take advantage of Integrity’s larger staff, Tucker said.
“We have a person dedicated to quality improvement and a person dedicated to pay claims,” Tucker said. “They didn’t want to reinvent the wheel.”
Hanson couldn’t be reached for comment.
Integrity has five people on its administrative staff, plus two medical directors, Tucker said. No layoffs are planned as a result of the partnership.
The two groups will be able to cut costs by playing to their strengths, Tucker said. When it comes to electronic medical records, for instance, Collaborative is farther along with health exchanges — the ability to share records among clinics. Integrity is farther along in data warehousing — the ability to actually store all of those records. The partnership will allow them to combine these strengths, he said.