Doctors Organizing Co-Op to Improve Medical Care in Rural Pennsylvania
Smith, Cathy, Rural Cooperatives
The Central Pennsylvania Physician's Cooperative (CPPC) continues to grow and evolve. This past summer, the steering committee of practice representatives decided to incorporate and move forward with the cooperative.
The group hopes to hire a nutritionist as soon as possible, who would ideally have a specialty in diabetes and could share time among all the cooperative members. The mostly rural practices that are forming the cooperative are primarily located in Lebanon County, Pa., about 20 miles north of Lancaster, Pa., and 70 miles west of Philadelphia.
The city of Lebanon, which is part of the Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle metropolitan statistical area (MSA), has about 24,461 residents. Lebanon County falls in the middle of the socioeconomic scale. It has 102 percent of the state's median household income, with a 6-percent unemployment rate. About 9 percent of the residents live below the poverty line. The county's population in 2010 was 133,568, about 1 percent of the state's total of 12.3 million people.
The members of the CPPC will be physician practices specializing in family medicine and primary care. Seven medical practices are currently represented on the co-op steering committee. Several of these practices have one to two doctors, while two of the practices include 8 to 12 doctors.
Motivation for the formation of the cooperative is to share resources among practices that continue to struggle for viability in a world of increasing costs. Small practices are not able to hire specialty employees or capture volume discounts in purchasing. The cooperative allows the practices to work together for the benefit of each member. …