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Tuesday, Oct 9, 2018

Ballad Health’s accountable care organization generates savings for fifth year in a row

AnewCare Collaborative – Ballad Health’s accountable care organization – is one of only 21 accountable care organizations in the country to generate savings for the fifth year in a row, according to results released recently by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

As the region’s first accountable care organization, AnewCare has generated more than $46 million dollars in total savings since its creation in 2012.

The goal of an accountable care organization – commonly referred to as an ACO – is to create healthier communities while eliminating excess healthcare costs. ACOs are groups of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers who voluntarily collaborate to improve health outcomes, care quality and patient satisfaction, and to lower the overall cost of care. The goal of coordinated care is to ensure that patients – especially those with chronic illnesses – get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors.

Of the 125 ACOs nationwide that have been in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) for the last five years, only 21 have achieved shared savings each year. For the 2017 performance year, a total of 472 ACOs participated in the program.

“I continue to be extremely proud of AnewCare’s dedication to delivering high quality care while reducing costs,” said Dr. John Patterson, chair of the AnewCare board. “Achieving savings the fifth year in a row affirms that our providers are working together effectively to improve the health of the community.

“Along with AnewCare, another accountable care organization in this region also achieved savings for the fifth year in a row. We would like to congratulate our friends at Qualuable for this outstanding achievement.”

When an ACO like AnewCare succeeds both in delivering high-quality care and reducing the cost of care, ACO members share in the savings achieved, either through incentive contracts with government payors like MSSP, or through private payor contracts designed to promote care quality and savings. 

AnewCare is made up of hundreds of providers in Virginia and Tennessee.

In an effort to help providers make informed choices and learn more about the movement to value-based models, a group of healthcare leaders recently hosted free educational sessions throughout the region. Seth Edwards, a principal from Premier Healthcare Alliance, reviewed several important topics including changes to the Quality Payment Program (QPP) and Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP). The sessions were sponsored by Ballad Health, ETSU Physicians, Medical Care, Mountain Region Family Medicine, and State of Franklin Healthcare Associates.

An estimated 100 providers and office staff attended the sessions.

“There was a great turnout, and all the attendees were very engaged and attentive,” said Dr. Shari Rajoo, medical director for AnewCare. “The current healthcare environment specific to physician reimbursement and value-based care is very difficult to navigate and understand, and the providers appreciated having a content expert there to explain the changes in a way that was understandable. The feedback we got was extremely positive.”

To more successfully navigate the changing healthcare system, many physicians recognize the advantages of joining an ACO, like AnewCare.

“I am so proud of all the medical practices and providers on the AnewCare team for all that they do for our patients and region as a whole,” said Dr. Shari Rajoo, medical director for AnewCare. “To be one of 21 ACOs in the country to achieve savings for the fifth year in a row speaks to our commitment of creating healthier communities.”

To learn more about AnewCare please visit their website

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