Formed in 1983, Southwest Physician Associates (SPA) started as an Independent Practitioner Association (IPA) in the business of accepting medical financial risk from health plans in exchange for fixed payments. This activity ended in 1999. Unlike most others, SPA managed to survive, change focus, and continues to serve its members today. SPA's focus since 1999 has been to offer "one-stop" credentialing services and fee-for-service master health plan agreements to its member physicians, podiatrists, and dentists. SPA is strictly a physician-run organization having at its helm an internal medicine physician appointed by a member-elected Board of Directors, all of whom are physicians in active practice.

Since the termination of the unprofitable business of risk contracting, one of SPA's main services has been to bring its members the best health plan agreements that it possibly can within the confines of "Messenger Model" Guidelines. SPA does not engage in the negotiation of prices or price-related terms. SPA's main purpose is to lower the transaction costs of contracting and reduce the administrative cost of health plan contracting for all parties. SPA's agent reads the "fine print" of agreements and informs SPA members of the meaning of the language. Members then make informed, independent decisions as to whether or not to participate with each health plan through the SPA master agreements. SPA members are always free to contract directly with any health plan.

Many health plans in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area welcome the opportunity to make offers to the more than 1,500 SPA members of many specialties through a single master agreement rather than through 1,500 individual agreements. All contracted health plans have delegated credentialing responsibility to SPA. Therefore, by completing only one credentialing application and upon receiving approval by the SPA Board, the SPA member may participate in all of the open-panel SPA-contracted health plans with no additional paperwork. Currently contracted health plans are: click here

Members and their office staff are kept abreast of health plan developments, upcoming health plan orientation sessions, developments in health care in general, etc. through a weekly fax called the "Monday Morning Fax ".

In addition, SPA Physician Services takes a very active role in offering assistance either by phone or in person to help members resolve health plan problems that they cannot resolve on their own. SPA Physician Services will also work with the practice to identify any systematic performance problems at variance with the contract terms.

SPA also offers its members a special subscription rate for a coding publication and preferred pricing for medical supplies. Educational seminars at reduced rates regarding many topics including changes in governmental regulation of health care, risk management and medical informatics are provided.