Physicians' Organization of Western Michigan evolved from Grand Rapids Physicians' Corporation (GRPC), a physician organization formed in 1986, to be the physician component in a three-way Care Choices contract, along with Blodgett Memorial Medical Center and St. Mary's Hospital. For the next seven years, GRPC limited its activities to its role in that contract.
In 1993, physicians began discussions with Blodgett and forming a Physician Hospital Organization (PHO). However, they were reluctant to proceed until they had a strong Physicians' Organization (PO) in place. After deciding what their new PO should look like, the early organizers realized that an organization already existed which had many of those characteristics. Not only was GRPC already capitalized, its membership had eight years of managed care experience. Thus, the evolution of GRPC into POWM had begun. The organization was restructured, putting an emphasis on governance by primary care physicians (PCPs). The bylaws and other documents then were revised to reflect POWM’s expanded scope and mission.
In 1994, POWM hired former Executive Director David Silliven to develop and market a new competitive insurance product called Physicians Care, and to put in place a network of physicians who would control the delivery of its services. After more than two years of laying the groundwork, Physicians Care was launched in late 1996 and, within one year, experienced explosive growth both in the size of its participating panel and in the number of covered lives.
POWM is now poised to take its place as a leading health care delivery system in the local and regional marketplace. As one of the largest physician organizations in Michigan, POWM leads the way in promoting the independence of physicians. Through POWM, physicians can speak with a single voice on issues affecting quality of care, patient access, and medical reimbursement.
We continue discussion with other POs, PHOs, and physician-driven networks and are open to any business opportunity that improves the quality of care for our patients. Whether through our successful collaborations or because of the number and quality of services to our members, POWM has become an influential force in shaping the delivery of health care in West Michigan.