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
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
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.