New plan for thousands of local Medicare patients - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

New plan for thousands of local Medicare patients

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Amarillo, Texas - A plan has the potential to make health care less expensive and easier for over 11,000 Amarillo residents.

Insurance Management Services is teaming up with the Accountable Care Organization to improve health care and reduce costs for medicare patients in the Amarillo region.

And we're told this plan can have more of an affect on our community than you may think.

Dr. Edwin Dodson says, "first of all, we're not going to be here unless we do this. The financial restraints are crushing to our profession now, and you won't survive unless you do this. The biggest inconvenience for the patients is if there are no doctors at all. And the number of doctors are declining rapidly."

Doctor Dodson tells us the cost of health care can have a negative affect on everyone.

And the Amarillo Legacy Medical ACO, or Accountable Care Organization is looking to not only save patients money, but also have a positive impact on our community.

Dr. William Biggs says, "high health care costs make Amarillo businesses less competitive for recruiting those new businesses. And it makes it harder for us to retain the best employers."

He tells us the lack of communication between physicians can cause patients to be spending unnecessary amounts of money.

Dr. Biggs says, "in the past doctor's offices were really prohibited from working together for the benefit of patients. Recent legislation has now enabled various physician practices to work together in this way. Again, to improve quality of care and reduce costs."

We're told a patient came in for tests, and through talking with her other doctor, it was discovered those tests were recently done.

Dr. Biggs believes, "as doctors, we're on the front line of the problem. We feel that we understand the problem. We want to tear down those walls that prevent everyone from getting the health care that they need in our community."

Over 70 area doctors are participating in the plan, and almost 100 providers.