How Relationships Build a Strong Network

Here is how Provider Development is able to expand access to care and boost member experience.

Tom Wahlen, Assistant Vice President of Provider Development at Select Health, telling us how relationships build a strong network. lg

Ensuring members have access to doctors throughout the communities we serve would not be possible without building critical relationships with providers. Assessing doctors and care goes beyond insurance—it relies on a comprehensive network of primary care physicians, specialty clinics, affiliated providers, and others to deliver care.

In Provider Development, we are responsible for creating and maintaining these provider networks. We serve as the connection between the communities we serve and these networks.

Cultivating deep, genuine relationships is just the start

Relationships take time and dedication to cultivate. They are often nurtured long before one of our members is able to see a doctor and continue to mature after a provider joins the network.

We depend on our year-round planning to discover the best ways to engage with prospective, new, and current providers. We start by cultivating relationships through frequent outreach campaigns and assigning dedicated representatives who work one-on-one with providers to better understand their needs and how we can work to improve not only the health of our members but the health of their communities.

Finding commonality in purpose

Each of these providers have unique goals, and it is important for us to understand these goals. We collaborate with those who are able to support our mission, vision, and values and who have the same goals of expanding access to care and improving the status of health. Our conversations with providers explore understanding who they are and what they do. Likewise, it is critical that they understand what we do and how we intend to better serve our members through the partnership.

Ensuring deliberate outreach

Because it is our goal to deliver access to care across the entire healthcare landscape, we develop relationships with providers from all backgrounds of care. We are very intentional in our outreach. Through research, feedback, and our own processes, we are able to identify gaps in our provider networks and look for opportunities to begin a partnership that will ensure our networks are indeed comprehensive.

Designating dedicated representatives

Our team has expanded over the past several years because of the growth we have seen in Select Health geographies. Our Provider Development team members are assigned by tiered clinics and work exclusively within their areas of expertise to build, foster, and maintain relationships with providers. Frequent communication with providers keeps us updated with any current events or concerns that may hinder the partnership and member experience.

The team will schedule frequent one-on-one meetings and visit personally with providers’ administration to make sure we are continuing toward our common goals and to help assess any areas that may need improvement. This personalized approach gives us the ability to grow and align to help our members.

Communicating with transparency, openness, and candor

We communicate consistently with providers, whether they are just learning about Select Health or have been a provider for some time. Our communications include three key components: transparency, openness, and candor. We rely on these components to create solutions and communicate the Select Health story. We also understand that listening is a critical part of communication, and it is a skill we use to understand the needs of our providers.

Relationships are essential to moving toward an established network of highly aligned organizations brought together to achieve a common goal. Our members ultimately reap the benefits of our connections with doctors and other healthcare services.

Developing a stable network helps us serve members

Once relationships are established, we are able to offer a new in-network service, specialty, or provider to our members. Members can receive the care they need without having to seek care outside the network. This helps to ensure they aren’t paying unnecessary costs.

Expanding access where it counts

The healthcare landscape can change rapidly, and we innovate quickly to keep our members’ needs at the forefront. Provider relationships help us assess where we may need to adapt and grow to meet our members where they are. Through our frequent communication, our providers are able to share with us the needs of their local community.

For example, the need for mental health services has significantly increased over the past several years. We have built an extensive behavioral health network for members and will continue adding additional behavioral health providers and services.

Creating long-lasting collaborations

The stability of a network is only as strong as the providers who are part of it. We view our providers as an extension of Select Health. It is our hope that through the partnerships we build with our providers, we can create a thriving system that is not only long lasting but comprised of those who support our members and their health needs, and the community’s health needs. Additionally, we want our providers to be a part of our decision making because, after all, decisions we make impact their lives just as much as the lives of our members.

Successful relationships are built when we are able to understand commonalities—while taking note of differences—and by being transparent in our communications. The partnerships we build with our providers allow us to have open and honest conversations about the status of health in the community.

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