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Which Type of Medical Group Provides Higher-Quality Care?

Lawrence P. Casalino, MD, PhD
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

From University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.

Grant Support: None.

Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest:Consultancies: Federal Trade Commission; Expert testimony: Federal Trade Commission; Grants pending: Kaiser Permanente Program Offices Fund for Research, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Commonwealth Fund.

Requests for Single Reprints: Lawrence P. Casalino, MD, PhD, Department of Health Studies, University of Chicago, 5841 South Maryland Avenue, MC 2007, Room W256, Chicago, IL 60637; e-mail, casalino@health.bsd.uchicago.edu.

Ann Intern Med. 2006;145(11):860-861. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-145-11-200612050-00012
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The quality of medical care depends on the individual physician and on the organization in which he or she works (13). In this issue, Mehrotra and colleagues (4) compare 3 types of physician organizations—medical groups, independent practice associations (IPAs), and “hybrids”—on 6 measures of quality. Medical groups are usually defined as organizations in which 3 or more physicians share facilities, staff, and income. Independent practice associations are organizations that contract with health maintenance organizations (HMOs) on behalf of large numbers of medical groups and 1- and 2-physician practices (56). Hybrids, a term coined by the investigators, are organizations that consist of a medical group and an IPA.

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