Q: Why are you excited about the new Interwell Health?
CT: In my 23-year history of practicing nephrology, this is the most exciting time to be a nephrologist that I’ve experienced. With the introduction of value-based care to the kidney space, the stage is set to make a tremendously positive impact on our patients’ lives. Value-based care makes sense to me as a physician and the significant interest from government and private payers to get this right creates fertile soil to improve our healthcare delivery. In my opinion, Interwell Health is clearly out in front and leading this effort. The partnership of expert nephrologist across the nation who are leaning in together through Interwell Health to improve the outcomes of their patients creates a powerful network of entrepreneurial collaboration. Interwell Health 2.0 strategically aligns the physician network with the data analytic talents and operational support of Fresenius Health Partners, and the patient engagement technology of Cricket Health to assemble unparalleled resources in the kidney space.
Q: How important are physician partners to the company’s success?
CT: Physicians must be front and center and absolutely at the foundation of Interwell Health for it to be successful. Great ideas and fancy resources are not helpful if they don’t improve patient outcomes or can’t be deployed at the practice level. Our role as physician partners in Interwell Health has not and will not change with this merger. The leadership structure of the new Interwell Health promotes multiple avenues for the physician voice to be heard. As physicians, we have direct representation on the Board and representation via the Chief Medical Officer. Additionally, three clinical committees with participants from Interwell Health physician practices from around the country have been designed to give physicians direct lines of communication to leadership and the Board. Interwell Health was founded by bringing physicians together who believe there is a better way to take care of our patients, and with this merger, we have the resources to excel.
Q: What will the company’s success mean for your patients?
CT: In my opinion, value-based care is about designing healthcare delivery systems that promote health, slow disease progression, improve patient outcomes, and mitigate preventable adverse events. The payers benefit because healthier patients cost less to manage and the patients benefit via better health outcomes. But from personal experience, this is easier said than done, especially when practices are structured to be successful in a fee-for-service environment. Successful transition to value-based care requires fundamental change in practice structure and culture and that requires time and resources that many practices struggle to find. Partnering with Interwell Health shifts much of that burden off the individual practice and provides a roadmap for success. It’s through the collaboration of the network practices, that best practice is determined. When you add in the operational support of Fresenius Health Partners and powerful technology of Cricket Health through the Interwell Health merger, physician practices now have access to the premier partner in value-based kidney care.
Over the past couple of years, I have observed my practice begin this journey of transformation to value-based care. Although it’s not been an easy path, it’s exciting to begin to see the beneficial outcomes of our efforts. As an example, we deployed a care coordinator program that has been very successful. All nephrologists recognize that the transition from CKD 4/5 to ESRD can be a perilous time for patients. Their disease is complex; their resources are limited; they are often seeing multiple providers which can become confusing; and they don’t feel well which can impair adherence to medical advice, but it’s my responsibility as their nephrologist to make sure they transition smoothly to end-stage kidney disease, something that I cannot ensure by myself. It is clearly evident to me that embedding a care coordinator to help the patient navigate the transition successfully has resulted in better outcomes for my patients.
Dr. Carney Taylor is a practicing nephrologist and Co-President of Eastern Nephrology Associates (ENA) which is in eastern North Carolina. ENA has been a participant in Interwell Health since its inception and is participating in the CKCC model with Fresenius Health Partners. Dr. Taylor also serves as a board member for Interwell Health. He has been in clinical practice for 23 years.