Healthcare Analytics, Population Health Management, Healthcare Big Data

Population Health News

Accountable Care Organizations Collaborate for Value-Based Care

By Stephanie Reardon

Four organizations have formed new ACOs, entered into new ACOs, or entered into new ACO agreements in the past week.

- The purpose of an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) is for physicians, hospitals and other medical facilities to collaborate, working together to improve population health and to work towards value-based reimbursement. The expansion of these groups attempt to foster community health and coordinated care. Four organizations have formed new ACOs, entered into new ACOs, or entered into new ACO agreements in the past week.

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Health Net of California, Inc. and John Muir Health announced they have formed a new ACO, which became effective January 1. This ACO’s goal is to lessen healthcare costs for patients in Contra Costa, Solano and Alameda, California counties.

“Our goal is to help improve the ability of patients to find the right care at the right time and in the most appropriate setting,” said Chris Ellertson, regional health plan officer for Health Net. “Through the arrangement, Health Net and John Muir Health will work collaboratively to build new efficiencies aimed at reducing the cost of care while maintaining access to quality care and decreasing the upward pressure on insurance premiums.”

Lee Huskins, president and chief administrative officer of John Muir Health’s physician network, said that the focus of the new ACO will be to bolster patient engagement and cultivate a better patient experience with care management and wellness programs.

Humana Inc. and Aurora Health Care in Milawkee also announced that they have entered into a new ACO agreement, effective as of January 1. The new agreement aims to provide patients with an improved method of receiving healthcare within the organization’s facilities and is based on a pay-for-value system.

“As a company, we’re shifting our focus to increase preventative services and ensure efficient, high-quality care to keep members on a path toward lifelong health,” said Bruno Piquin, Senior Markets Vice President, Northern Division, Humana. “Aurora is a high-performing health system with a longstanding history in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. Entering into this new relationship will not only lead to world-class care for our members but overall healthier individuals, families and communities.”

Additionally, Cornerstone Health Care PA in Pennsylvania announced that its child company, Cornerstone Health Enablement Strategic Solutions, LLC has added Catawba Valley Medical Center of Hickory as a participant within its ACO.

Effective January 1, Ringgold Country Hospital of Iowa became a participant of Mercy Accountable Care Organization (Mercy ACO). Mercy ACO is a combination of health care providers that have teamed up to organize patient care in a more affordable way.

In November, Ringgold County Hospital participated in Mercy ACO’s CMS Healthcare Innovation Award. This $10.1 million award gives funding to Critical Access Hospitals and their clinics to change their methods to value-based care.

Mercy ACO was established in 2012, and strives to build a new health care model. The model Mercy ACO hopes to establish would focus on giving improved medical services while lowering costs for patients.


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