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8/7/2012
03:15 PM
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8 Accountable Care Organizations Worth Closer Look

ACOs break new ground in healthcare as cost pressures mount for providers.
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What's the holy grail of healthcare? For HealthCare Partners (HCP), a physician-led organization with staff-model medical groups and independent practice organizations (IPAs) in California, Nevada, and Florida, it's been providing high-quality patient care while controlling medical costs for more than two decades.

According to Greg Mason, VP of application services for HealthCare Partners Medical Group, based in Torrance, Calif., HCP has pursued that goal through a commitment to both clinical excellence and coordination of patient care. "HCP, in each of our markets, was selected in December 2011 to participate in the Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) Program, an initiative of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)," said Mason. "HCP believes the ACO model, which focuses on care coordination across providers and healthcare settings, is a compelling approach. That is essentially what we have been doing with our Medicare Advantage population for many years. "

Mason said that although many community HIEs and other mechanisms of sharing data between providers and patients have failed to realize the vision that has been in place for years, organizations that are excelling in providing coordinated care "have created their own versions of HIEs as a necessity for ensuring that the full spectrum of care providers have as much information in their hands at the time of care to reduce redundant and inappropriate utilization practices and support best practices."

HCP serves a patient population of almost 65,000. To address elimination of waste, duplicative testing, and poor medication reconciliation, Mason said that HCP has a strong analytics team to support its clinicians. To keep track of data, such as the 33 quality measures outlined by CMS, including hemoglobin A1C, and blood cholesterol, HCP uses clinical dashboards with a focus on improving their performance on those clinical dashboards.

Recommended reading:

Accountable Care Organizations Step Up to Medicare's Challenge

ACOs Need Better Data Transparency, Management

Why Doctors Won't Like ACOs

EHRs Need Accountable Care Features

Accountable Care Lives Or Dies On Performance Data

Care Management Software Vendors Scramble To Meet Requirements

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