I have to change the subject of my column this week after I checked my incoming e-mails from my readers who are requesting updates on my various columns.

Independent Physician Association (IPA)

I received two e-mails from Vicente Ruivivar inquiring on the status of Dr. Erie Agustin’s proposal to organize an IPA which he called Kababayan Care - IPA.

I wrote two columns on this subject which were published in the April 22-28, 2011 and June 17-23, 2011 issues of the Filipino Reporter.

According to the position paper prepared by Dr. Agustin, the minimum requirement to form an IPA is 1,000 Fil-Am seniors as members and 10 providers.

A membership of 3,000 would be a very healthy IPA.

To recruit many members, I suggested to Dr. Agustin that he should place long-term advertisements to as many Fil-Am newspapers in New York.

There are approximately 20,000 Fil-Am seniors in the New York area.

IPA is a joint venture of Kababayan Care and Freedom Health of Florida called Atlantis headed by Dr. Kiran Patel.

On April 18, 2011, a seminar was hosted by Dr. Patel of Atlantis Health Plan with Dr. Agustin at the Sheraton Flushing Hotel.

Dr. Patel explained the mechanics of organizing a joint venture with Filipino doctors in New York to enable Fil-Am seniors to use their Medicare in the Philippines.

In a recent interview with this writer, Dr. Agustin predicted that it may be sometime before realizing Fil-Am seniors dream of validating the use of their Medicare cards for medical and hospitalization expenses in the Philippines.

Again, on June 5, 2011, Dr. Patel, the CEO of Atlantis, flew from Florida to talk with a group of Filipino doctors in New York.

The main reason for this meeting is to allow Filipino Medicare members in New York to be able to use their Medicare privileges when they go to the Philippines.

Medicare does not allow the use of Medicare once they leave the United States.

The solution is to have a gatekeeper here in the United States which can be done by forming what we call an independent physician association, under the HMO.

IPA means a group of doctors can form a mini-HMO and they will have a panel of 1,000 to 2,000 patients under their care and they will be the gatekeeper for the healthcare of these Medicare members.

As of this writing, I have not heard from Dr. Agustin regarding my proposal to advertise long-term in Fil-Am newspapers in New York.

Without placing long-term advertisements, it would be next to impossible to recruit at least 1,000 Fil-Am seniors from New York.

U.S. Medicare portability in 2012

All is not lost for Fil-Am seniors dream of using their U.S. Medicare cards in the Philippines.

In my column of Oct. 14-20, 2011 published in the Reporter, a news item appeared in another Fil-Am newspaper regarding the U.S. Medicare portability in the Philippines in 2012.

Eric Lachica, organizer of U.S. Medicare PH, revealed in a recent news item that his group is targeting to have U.S. Congress approval by December 2012.

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