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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: December 21, 2010
Premier, 19 Members Want To Turn Sick Healthcare System Into Healthy One

The Premier healthcare alliance and 19 of its leading health system members have launched two accountable care organization (ACO) collaboratives designed to evolve today’s sick care system to one that improves health in local communities.

Working together, participating health systems will create the first ACOs in the market, accepting accountability for the health of more than 1.2 million patients and committing to lower costs by improving care coordination, efficiency, quality and patient satisfaction.

ACOs are defined as a group of healthcare providers coming together to accept accountability for a defined patient population’s care. They are designed to keep patients healthy and out of intensive care settings, while simultaneously shifting reimbursements to increasingly pay based on the achievement of top performance goals that drive improved patient outcomes and cost effectiveness.

"Accountable care organizations like those in the Premier alliance put the new and innovative ideas in the health care reform law into practice to improve health care quality while reducing inefficient and wasteful spending," said Sen. Max Baucus, (D-Mont), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

"ACOs put the patient at the center of care. In the ACO, patients are partners working with their care team to manage and improve their health. This is the real goal of healthcare reform – highest quality care at a more cost-effective price for patients and taxpayers," according to Dr. Nicholas Wolter, CEO of Billings Clinic (Montana).

To help members develop the capabilities necessary to form ACOs, Premier has created two collaborative opportunities for members. The ACO Implementation Collaborative is designed for health systems able to pursue ACOs for patients today, leveraging existing payer partnerships and a tightly aligned, engaged physician network. The ACO Readiness Collaborative is designed for health systems that must first develop the organization, skills, team and operational capabilities necessary to become ACOs and ultimately join the Implementation Collaborative.

"The creation of these new Accountable Care Organization Collaboratives is a big step forward in the effort to improve care for patients across America," said Congressman Earl Pomeroy (D-ND). "I applaud each of these hospitals for taking the not-so-easy step of leading our nation toward a system of higher quality care while also working to reduce unnecessary medical costs."

Nineteen health systems with more than 70 hospitals, a broad variety of payer contracts and partnerships with thousands of physicians will participate in the ACO Implementation Collaborative. Participating health system members are located in 15 states, covering urban, rural and suburban populations that range in size from 4,000 to 7.5 million residents.

Members of the ACO collaboratives will work to build the critical components of accountable care, including:

  • People-centered foundation that designs the ACO from a patient’s perspective to foster betterengagement, satisfaction and increased accountability for health.
  • Health homes that deliver primary care and manage health and wellness.
  • New approaches to primary, specialty and hospital care to reward coordination, efficiency and productivity.
  • Tightly integrated relationships with specialists, ancillary providers and hospitals so they are similarly focused and aligned to achieve high-value outcomes.
  • Provider/payer partnerships and reimbursement models that incent improved outcomes, rewarding value over volume.
  • Population health IT infrastructure, including health information exchanges to enable coordination across provider networks.

"Health systems are committed to helping ensure that reforms enacted in law are successful in improving the quality and value delivered to patients," said Michael Bryant, president and CEO of Methodist Health Services Corp. "Given the urgent need for quality and results-based healthcare on a national scale, we must start executing now. This collaborative will ensure we can test innovative models in time to share what works with policy makers so that when ACOs spread nationwide, we know they will be effective."

Collaborative participants may be the early applicants for ACO contracts with the Medicare program to cover additional patients as early as 2012, the date the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is set to develop an ACO-shared savings program under the recently passed health care reform law.

"ACOs are a departure from the status quo ...," said Premier President and CEO Susan DeVore. "Just as we used the power of collaboration to test value-based purchasing in the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration (HQID) and achieve top performance with the QUEST: High Performing Hospitals collaborative, we have an effective methodology for building and sustaining change."

Address: Premier Inc., 2320 Cascade Pointe Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28208; (877) 777-1552,

  This article was taken from:
Pay-For-Performance Reporter

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