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Physicians' Alliance, LTD and Penn State Health to form strategic partnership

Group includes more than 120 health care providers in 13 practice locations across three counties

Penn State Health and Physicians' Alliance, LTD. (PAL), the largest independent physician practice group in Lancaster County, today announced plans to pursue a strategic partnership. The partnership includes the integration of PAL practices and the employment of its providers and staff by Penn State Health.

“We're excited about the opportunity to join the Penn State Health family. Penn State Health and PAL share common values. We work well together and we respect each other. For many years, our physicians, providers and staff have collaborated with our Penn State colleagues to meet the specialty care needs of many of our patients,” said Dr. Michael Warren, president of Physicians' Alliance, LTD. “Joining Penn State Health provides us with a strong, stable partner in a fast-changing health care environment and enhances our ability to meet the continuing needs of our patients and communities.”

PAL represents approximately 120 physicians, advanced practice clinicians (APC's) and registered dieticians at 13 practice locations in Lancaster, Dauphin and York Counties. Collectively PAL physicians and APC's serve approximately 100,000 patients in their various sites of service. PAL physicians also provide hospitalist services for Lancaster Regional Medical Center, Heart of Lancaster and Lancaster General Health.

“A fundamental goal of Penn State Health is to provide patients with high-quality, cost-effective care as close to home as possible. This formal partnership with PAL physicians and staff helps us to greatly advance that goal,” said Dr. A. Craig Hillemeier, CEO of Penn State Health, dean of Penn State College of Medicine and the University's senior vice president for health affairs.

“Patients can be confident that their PAL physicians will continue to send them to the most appropriate local hospital for care,” Hillemeier continued. “When those same patients need advanced care for more complex conditions like cancer, organ transplantation or specialty pediatrics, they'll have seamless access to the world class resources of our Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Children's Hospital in Hershey. No patient should have to travel to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or Baltimore to get the advanced care they need.”

The partnership between PAL and Penn State Health also will include the complete acquisition of Lancaster-based Central Penn Management Group (CPMG). CPMG is a physician management services organization that handles business functions such as finance, human resources and information technology services for all PAL practices as well as other health care organizations. Penn State Health currently owns 51 percent of CPMG and will acquire the remaining 49 percent of the business.

PAL and Penn State Health already collaborate on several patient care initiatives designed to enhance access and quality.

Last year, physicians at PAL and Penn State Health teamed to create a telemedicine pilot program to allow PAL patients to receive medical advice and access to follow-up care from Penn State Health dermatologists. Patients in Lancaster County routinely face wait times of 4-6 months to see dermatologists. Through the telemedicine connection, PAL and Penn State Health are able to provide patients with a medical evaluation of their dermatology concerns by board-certified Penn State Health dermatologists in a matter of days.

PAL physicians are also charter members of Penn State Health Care Partners, a clinically integrated network that participates in the federal government's Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP). Collectively, Penn State Health Care Partners provides coordinated care to more than 28,000 Medicare beneficiaries in central Pennsylvania with an emphasis on wellness, prevention and managing chronic illness to improve health and reduce cost.

All PAL primary care practices have achieved the highest-level of Patient-Centered Medical Home designation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). NCQA offers Patient Centered Medical Home recognition to medical practices that are able to pass a set of rigorous standards geared toward high-quality, cost-effective whole person health care.

The formal partnership between Penn State Health and PAL, has been approved by the respective boards of both organizations and will become effective in fall 2017. The exact date of PAL's transition into Penn State Health is still being determined.

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