|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
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
"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
"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, www.premierinc.com.