independent practice associations (IPAs)
DEFINITION: Independent practice associations (IPAs) negotiate with insurers to provide services for insureds on a flat fee or retainer basis. They allow physicians to remain independent while still collaborating with other doctors to achieve best practices and negotiate with insurers as a group.
IPAs were popular in the 90s, but were not particularly successful and fell out of favor. They may be making a comeback now with healthcare reform and ACOs.