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What is an Independent Physician Association?

An Independent Physician Association or IPA represents a group of independent providers and medical practices that collectively build relationships with insurance companies, share back-end resources, all while maintaining their independence in an increasingly consolidated healthcare system. IPA’s bring together small private practices and solo providers who otherwise wouldn’t have much of a voice for their communities. By joining an IPA, they can team up to command higher rates and fairer contracts. It’s about strength in numbers and leveling the playing field. Hundreds or even thousands of physicians across multiple specialties might form a regional IPA together.

Who Joins an IPA and why?

Most members of an IPA are independent primary care physicians, free standing facilities or specialists running small clinics. IPA members want to remain independent rather than align with a neighboring or larger health system. 

While members of an IPA are independent, they share some core goals like:

  • Better oversight and management of their managed care needs
  • Developing programs and tools to improve patient care coordination
  • Adopting health IT systems for sharing medical records and data
  • Promoting value-based care focused on health outcomes vs. volume of services


The IPA structure allows input from all its member practices through an elected governing board and leadership. 

Another key benefit of joining an IPA is leveraging that membership to negotiate group deals for supplies, technology, and administrative services. For example, the IPA can get big discounts by purchasing:

  • Electronic Medical Records systems for the whole network
  • Medical equipment and devices at wholesale rates
  • Billing services to manage claims and finances


Government and commercial health plans continue pushing towards “risk-based” arrangements that incentivize doctors to control costs. This includes accountable care organizations and capitation models. By joining an IPA, independent practices have the data, infrastructure, and collaboration in place to take on these new payment approaches.

How can SHP help with your IPA search?

Our IPA management services is able to leverage our managed care contracting expertise to negotiate contracts on behalf of the association. For instance, this includes:

  • National, statewide and direct network contracts, including both commercial and governmental payers.
  • Fee-for-service and incentive-based contracting.
  • Managed Care Market Analysis for service areas.
  • Contract Language Review.
  • Delegated Credentialing.


In addition, SHP can help grow the network of benefits offered to IPA members with the development and management of purchasing programs. Through our vast network of relationships, we are able to form programs which offer savings for members. Including but not limited to malpractice insurance and clinical supplies. Also included are office supplies and reference laboratory services.

SHP believes that in today’s rapidly evolving healthcare market. Our provision of accurate and unbiased updates about healthcare legislation and market trends to our clients. Consequently, this is an invaluable service in maintaining viable healthcare practices.

In support of these services, SHP also provides critical support to each IPA members practice. This includes individual practice fee analysis, claims research and resolution, network meetings and education.

SHP works with the designated legal counsel of our IPA members. Above all, ensuring all activities meet regulatory guidelines, including those of the FTC.

Contact us to learn more and receive a quote.

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