Partners Healthcare is one of 32 Pioneer accountable care organizations selected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to test a new payment model that requires these ACOs to take on more financial responsibility for patient care than the other participants in CMS' Shared Savings Program.
The Boston health system needs to do more work to prepare for this complex undertaking, said James Noga, VP and CIO at Partners, which includes seven acute care hospitals, 20 community health centers, rehabilitation facilities, and a network of more than 5,000 physicians.
To succeed in the ACO program, Noga said, Partners must gear up for a new approach to care delivery that emphasizes population health management, a model that focuses on keeping patients healthy and managing their care between encounters with the health system. Building on an earlier demonstration project in which Partners participated, the organization is increasing its emphasis on the use of electronic patient registries and event-driven alerts to help primary care doctors manage their patients, he said.
Partners is taking a proactive approach in other areas. It began planning for ICD-10 two and one-half years ago, putting a program management structure in place across the enterprise. Despite CMS's recent decision to delay the ICD-10 deadline, Noga said, "we have not slowed down." In fact, Partners is training its affiliated private practice physicians on ICD-10 documentation.
Since 2008, Partners has required its physicians to use either the health system's homegrown electronic health record system or GE Healthcare Centricity if they want to keep working with Partners. As a result, all of its doctors now have EHRs, and Noga expects them to attest to Meaningful Use this year.