Compass Independent Physician Association

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Frequently Asked Questions

For Consumers: Communication and knowledge are important elements of any relationship. When it comes to health decisions, patients and physicians must actively work together.

Compass IPA would like to help you make informed decisions about your healthcare. We believe it's important for consumers to understand as much as possible about today's complex healthcare environment and the role the IPA and its participating physicians play.

What is an IPA?

IPA stands for "independent physicians association". Independent physician means physicians in private practice, in contrast to physicians who are employees of a corporation, such as a hospital or a large multispecialty clinic. Physicians join IPAs to gain the advantage of group purchasing, recruitment, managed care contracting, shared information systems, etc.

What is Compass IPA?

Compass IPA is a membership organization consisting of more than 70 physicians. Our members contract with over a dozen managed care organizations. We were formed in 1994 as Coosa Clinics, Inc with a founding membership of 12 physicians.  

What makes Compass different from other physician organizations, like the medical societies?

Compass IPA is focused on the business of medical practices. Currently we provide managed care contracting services, credentialing, and assistance to physicians in their relationships with payers. The vision of Compass IPA is to unite physicians in an effective business-focused organization that will advocate for patients with insurance companies, state and federal governments, employers, and other payers for quality patient care. Our expertise will impact our members' bottom lines. Compass IPA will work with other physician organizations, not duplicate them.

What is credentialing and why is it important?

At its most basic, credentialing means the process of checking a physician's background and qualifications. At Compass IPA it means much more. Only after all the items have been satisfactorily documented is a physician considered for membership in Compass IPA. And every three years the items that are subject to change are verified again in order for a member to remain in Compass IPA.

Credentialing procedures are based upon National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) criteria and reviewed periodically by the health plans we work with to ensure that we're performing to the highest standards.

Why is this important to consumers? It simply means you can depend on Compass IPA physicians to provide the finest medical care in your community. 

Isn't it illegal for physicians to contract together if they aren't partners in a single practice?

Compass IPA currently follows the messenger model contracting format as required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The messenger model focuses on "one to one" individual member requested services.

Who can join?

Physicians currently practicing in Northwest Georgia area are eligible to join Compass IPA. Prospective members must go through our credentialing process. Contact Pamela Miller at 800-252-9094 to get a more information or an application. 

How do I select a physician?

The “Find a Physician” box found on the Compass IPA website is the best tool to use. You can select from the members of the organization, get directions to their office, and link directly to the practice’s website. Information on where a physician attended medical school, Board certification and society memberships can be reviewed. If you want to know if a physician participates in your health plan, please call their office.




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