Kaiser’s network to include independent specialists

Economy & Labor
Health care & Insurance
Kaiser Permanente’s entrance into the Northern Colorado market was made possible in part because of a partnership with Banner Health and its network of clinics. But the big insurer is also working to develop alliances with independent medical practices across the region.
Its network will likely consist of specialists rather than primary-care physicians. Those doctors will be hired directly by Kaiser. Just how many specialists might agree to open their doors to Kaiser’s members remains unknown.
Kaiser will open two of its own clinics in October, with plans to hire about 40 people to staff locations in Fort Collins and Windsor.
By the time it opens a third clinic, in Greeley in 2014, it expects to have a total of 100 employees working in Northern Colorado.
The composition of Kaiser’s staff and the private practices with which it will align itself will be based on an analysis of the community’s needs, said Jason Tacha, senior operations director for Kaiser’s Colorado region.
Northern Colorado is already home to 6,000 Kaiser members, who have had to travel to the Boulder-Denver area to access Kaiser doctors.
That membership base provides Kaiser a bit of a leg up when deciding how to staff its offices, and it can bring on professionals who specialize in the areas deemed most appropriate.
The insurer already knows that its Fort Collins and Loveland locations will offer family and internal medicine, pediatrics, a draw station and testing area, radiology services and a pharmacy. The Loveland location will also offer mammography services.
“Care teams need to match the community,” Tacha said. “And we’re very clear about the skills and behaviors we want our employees to exhibit. We want employees who feel that it is a privilege to provide our patients’ care.”
Most recently, Kaiser was ranked in the top 50 employers in Equal Opportunity magazine, according to the company’s website.
Job postings will be made available to current Kaiser employees first, Tacha said, noting that there are workers in Boulder who may be open to relocating to Northern Colorado.
In addition to accessing care at Kaiser clinics, members will be able to use their health plans at facilities operated by Arizona-based Banner Health through a partnership between the two entities.
Banner operates about 35 clinics and group practices throughout Northern Colorado. It also owns hospitals North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley and McKee Medical Center in Loveland.
Kaiser will also establish a network of community providers that will be able to treat Kaiser patients, Tacha said.
Kaiser announced last month that the specific location for its Fort Collins clinic would be 2950 Harmony Road, and that its Loveland clinic would be established at 4901 Thompson Parkway.
The company plans to have its health care plans available near the beginning of October, at the same time the two clinics are expected to open. No location has yet been chosen for a Greeley facility.

Molly Armbrister covers real estate, banking and health care for the Northern Colorado Business Report. She can be reached at 970-232-3139, marmbrister@ncbr.com or twitter.com/MArmbristerNCBR

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