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Understanding the Alphabet Soup of Managed Care Integrated Delivery Systems

Rural Networks


Ira S. Moscovice, Professor, Division of Health Services Research and Policy, University of Minnesota.

This session provided information on the development of rural health networks and integrated delivery systems and policy issues associated with network development in rural areas. Drawing upon the results of a recent national survey of such networks, Ira Moscovice of the University of Minnesota described the characteristics of these networks, including the nature of the collaborative/integrating activities in which provider members of these rural networks are involved.

In addition to collaborative activities within networks, Dr. Moscovice also stated that 20 percent of reporting rural health networks held contract with health maintenance organizations (HMOs), while a similar percentage contracted directly with self-insured employers.

Among the conclusions that Dr. Moscovice shared with participants were that most rural health networks were relatively young organizations that to date have focused most of their collaborative energies on organizational or administrative development. These networks are not yet highly integrated either clinically or functionally, although some do share risk through joint ventures. They have only begun to cooperate on substantive programs that may enhance the effectiveness of their members or the well-being of the communities they serve.


Rural Health Networks: Forms & Functions. Minneapolis, MN: Rural Health Research Center, Division of Health Services Research and Policy, School of Public Health. University of Minnesota, 1007.

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