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Agency Collaboration Supports Inland Empire Physicians

Rancho Cucamonga, CA, May 21, 2020 — San Bernardino County Medical Society (SBCMS), Riverside County Medical Association (RCMA) and Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) announced details of the agencies' collaboration to support Inland Empire physicians, ensuring their practices remain intact and can continue to serve the community.
Support includes a multi-level approach including financial, administrative and personal protection equipment (PPE) supplies to physicians. These efforts are in addition to IEHP's recent announcement to provide financial support to the plan's contracted hospitals. 
"RCMA began hearing from specialists who were closing their practices, furloughing staff and were unable to cover salaries and overhead," said Dolores Green, executive director of Riverside County Medical Association. "We approached IEHP to discuss how our local health plan could join efforts to support surgeons and specialists. IEHP immediately stepped up and expressed their desire to help, resulting in a new payment policy. Together by reducing collateral damage to our providers, we can ensure the viability and sustainability of our healthcare system in the Inland Empire."
IEHP introduced the Physician Specialist Compensation Program to support physicians during COVID-19. This innovative program compares physician's average claim payments of 2019 to the current average received during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program pays physicians up to 90% of the difference, enabling practices to remain open and prepared for increasing volumes when COVID-19 sanctions are lifted. 
New guidelines surrounding paid leave and telehealth strategies have added to the changing landscape for physician practices. Identifying a need for support, SBCMS, RCMA and IEHP have organized educational opportunities to help physicians navigate these new guidelines and implement telehealth strategies to support patients.
"On any given day, IEHP is a lifeline for our physicians," said Alison Elsner, executive director of San Bernardino County Medical Society. "However, during challenges of COVID-19, IEHP has become a vital conduit of support and survival for our physicians and the patient community they serve. Many of our physicians would not have been able to remain in practice without the foresight, passion and influence of IEHP. SBCMS is beyond grateful for the collaboration."
Coordinating with SBCMS and RCMA, IEHP donated personal protective equipment (PPE) through a series of distributions to each organization for physicians in the Inland Empire. “Physicians, who would otherwise not be able to see patients for what are often life-threatening conditions, are allowed to provide care and access through IEHP's generous and steady donations of PPE," added Elsner.
The medical organizations and IEHP continue to communicate and connect regularly to ensure local physicians have the support and resources they need.
"Our physicians are doing all they can to continue to show up for our communities," said Jarrod McNaughton, IEHP CEO. "It's an honor to partner with SBCMS and RCMA to rally around our physicians and serve as reinforcements to the great work they do and have always done for us."

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