New Accountable Care Organization Collaboratives Will Focus on Creating Healthier Communities

1.2 Million Patients to Benefit from Integrated Care That Improves Quality and Safety, Reduces Unnecessary Medical Costs

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- 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. ACOs 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.

“I applaud the Premier alliance and its member health systems for their collaborative work to improve their patients’ care and reduce costs by offering patients access to a wide range of healthcare providers and settings,” said Senator Max Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “Accountable Care Organizations like those in the Premier alliance put the new and innovative ideas in the healthcare reform law into practice to improve healthcare quality while reducing inefficient and wasteful spending.”

According to Nicholas Wolter, MD, CEO of Billings Clinic, “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.”

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.”

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

  • Patient-centered foundation that designs the ACO from a patient’s perspective to foster better engagement, 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, Methodist Health Services Corporation. “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 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is set to develop an ACO shared savings program under the recently passed healthcare reform law.

“ACOs are a departure from the status quo, and will be an ambitious goal for even the most advanced healthcare systems,” 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.”

Premier’s collaborative methodology is a disciplined, measured and organized performance improvement mechanism that has demonstrated impressive results. HQID hospitals have demonstrated top national quality improvement performance and QUEST hospitals are outpacing their peers in reducing mortality, patient harm and costs, while simultaneously improving quality.

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 Collaborative include:

  • Aria Health; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • AtlantiCare; Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey
  • Baystate Health; Springfield, Massachusetts
  • Billings Clinic; Billings, Montana
  • Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, Inc.; Greenville, South Carolina, and Bon Secours Richmond Health System; Richmond, Virginia - part of Bon Secours Health System, Inc.
  • CaroMont Health; Gastonia, North Carolina
  • Fairview Health Services; Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Geisinger Health System; Danville, Pennsylvania
  • Heartland Health; St. Joseph, Missouri
  • Methodist Medical Center of Illinois; Peoria, Illinois
  • North Shore-LIJ Health System; Long Island, New York
  • Presbyterian Healthcare Services; Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Saint Francis Health System; Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Southcoast Hospitals Group; Fall River, Massachusetts
  • SSM Health Care; St. Louis, Missouri
  • Summa Health System, Akron, Ohio
  • Texas Health Resources; Arlington, Texas
  • University Hospitals; Cleveland, Ohio

Premier alliance members are still joining the ACO Readiness Collaborative, and participation in that Collaborative will be announced next month at the Premier Annual Breakthroughs Conference and Exhibition, June 8-11, 2010 in Washington, DC.

About the Premier healthcare alliance, 2006 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient

Premier is a performance improvement alliance of more than 2,300 U.S. hospitals and 67,000-plus other healthcare sites working together to achieve high quality, cost-effective care. Owned by not-for-profit hospitals, Premier maintains the nation's most comprehensive repository of clinical, financial and outcomes information and operates a leading healthcare purchasing network. A world leader in helping deliver measurable improvements in care, Premier works with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the United Kingdom's National Health Service North West to improve hospital performance. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Premier also has offices in San Diego, Philadelphia and Washington.


Premier Inc.
Amanda Forster, 202-879-8004
[email protected]
Alven Weil, 704-733-5797
[email protected]

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