ACOs taking hold in California for cost savings

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Like the early pioneers of the West, California is proving to be a hot spot of the accountable care organization (ACO) experiment. Under healthcare reform, hospitals, providers, and insurers are taking a stake in the collaborative care initiative with goals of cost savings and improved care.

For example, University of California San Francisco, two Catholic Healthcare West facilities, and California Pacific Medical Center are partnering with Blue Shield of California with those savings and care goals in mind. In a previous partnership between Blue Shield, Hill Physicians, and Catholic Healthcare West, the care collaborative model produced $20 million in savings, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. In addition, the partnership resulted in a 15 percent decrease in 30-day hospital readmissions and a 15 percent decrease in length of stay, according to the article.

In another example of a California ACO, Anthem Blue Cross partnered with Individual Practice Association Medical Group of Santa Clara County (SCCIPA) as the first ACO in the state, according to Anthem Blue Cross Vice President of Provider Engagement and Contracting Aldo De La Torre in FierceHealthPayer column.

All healthcare institutions should consider the benefits of ACOs, De La Torre says.

"[W]e all need to be open to a new way of giving and receiving healthcare services in order for all of us to benefit," writes De La Torre. "These programs are in their infancy, but we believe this is a holistic look at healthcare that all participants could benefit from."

For more information:
- read the San Francisco Chronicle article
- check out the FierceHealthPayer column

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