Genesis Health, Wellmark launch provider-payer ACO

Genesis Health System, based in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, and Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa yesterday announced that they are launching an accountable care organization. This health system-insurer merger is the latest in the trend of provider-payer partnerships intended to control healthcare costs with commercially developed ACOs. A key aim of the ACO is to provide improved quality care for all its members, Wellmark CEO and Chairman John Forsyth said. "This ACO was created to keep healthy people well and improve outcomes for our members when they need care."

Both Genesis and Wellmark executives predict that the ACO will benefit Wellmark's members by improving all-around customer experience for patients in areas such as making appointments, scheduling follow-ups and coordinated visits with multiple doctors. The launch of the ACO also could benefit providers. Wellmark plans to give financial incentives to providers for meeting quality and cost goals. Announcement