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Aria Health Joins New Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) Initiative under Healthcare Reform Law

ACOs designed to deliver high-quality, patient-centered care. 

(Philadelphia, PA) - Aria Health has joined 18 other healthcare organizations nationwide to launch Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), a collaborative effort designed to implement essential healthcare reforms to deliver high-quality, patient-centered care.  
 
Through this commitment, Aria expects to be among the first in the nation and the Philadelphia region to create ACOs in the market, accepting accountability for patient care delivery by improving care coordination, efficiency, quality and patient satisfaction. To achieve these goals, ACOs aim to keep patients out of acute and intensive care settings through preventive health measures, while simultaneously shifting reimbursements to be based on the achievement of top performance goals.
 
“Aria Health was a pioneer in offering community-based preventive health and wellness services to the Northeast Philadelphia and Bucks County communities more than 30 years ago,” said Aria Health Chief Operating Officer (COO) Linde Finsrud Wilson.  “Participating in the development of ACOs now allows Aria the unique opportunity to expand our preventive health initiatives, continue to promote healthy lifestyles, and build well communities; all while remaining at the forefront of healthcare reform.” 

Organized by Premier, a healthcare performance improvement alliance, the collaborative includes more than 70 hospitals nationwide that will work together to test, measure and share best practices for creating ACOs and improving overall health and wellness in their communities.

Collaborative members also will build the critical components of accountable care, including: 

  • Patient-centered health homes that deliver primary care and manage health and wellness.
  • New approaches to primary, specialty and hospital care to reward care 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 information infrastructure, including health information exchanges, to enable care coordination across provider networks.
“By embarking on this effort to transform the quality, efficiency and satisfaction of patient care, Aria Health is putting patients first and creating a successful new model that others will seek to learn from and emulate,” said Premier President and CEO Susan DeVore. “The work required to become an ACO will be extremely challenging and Aria deserves tremendous credit for its commitment to implementing necessary reforms that will help ensure our system is sustainable and highly effective. Aria Health is a true marketplace leader, and in taking this step, will have a positive effect on community health.”
 
Collaborative members will next determine how successful their efforts have been by measuring the overall health of their communities, patient satisfaction and the cost of care.  Collaborative participants may be the first to apply for ACO contracts with the Medicare program to cover additional patients as early as 2012.  This is the date the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is required to develop an ACO shared savings program under the recently passed healthcare reform law.
 
“Aria Health looks forward the next steps of the groundbreaking ACO development as well as expansion of its longstanding working relationship with Premier,” said Ms. Wilson.