Central Oregon Independent Practice Association (COIPA), St. Charles Medical Group and six other family care providers in the region have together created an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) to improve the quality of care for Medicare patients.
The goal of an ACO is to ensure that patients—especially the chronically ill—get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors. When an ACO succeeds, the quality of care goes up, the cost of health care goes down and participating providers share the savings they achieve for Medicare.
Formally started on January 1, the ACO is centered on primary care delivery and quality, and is a three-year commitment through 2020. Created by and carried out in consultation with Caravan Health, the ACO includes:
· St. Charles Family Care clinics, including Bend East, Bend South, Madras, Prineville, Redmond and Sisters
· Mosaic Medical
· Cascade Internal Medicine Specialists
· Fall Creek Internal Medicine
· La Pine Community Health Clinic
· Madras Medical Group
· Central Oregon Family Medicine
“The invitation by COIPA to jointly create an ACO comes at the right time for St. Charles. We are adjusting to changing health care policy and reimbursements,” said Dr. Jim Guyn, St. Charles’ senior vice president of population health. “It’s also a great opportunity for the Medicare beneficiaries in Central Oregon who will benefit from improvements in care coordination and a focus on measurable quality care.”
ACOs, which were created as part of the Affordable Care Act, were designed to help steer providers away from a system that rewards more—rather than better—health care. In an ACO, the participants are jointly accountable for achieving quality benchmarks, incentivizing them to share information and better coordinate care.
“Central Oregon Independent Practice Association is excited to work in partnership with St. Charles to promote better health for our communities, and reward our member providers for the great care they give to their patients,” said COIPA Executive Director Kim Bangerter. “We see this as another opportunity to serve our members and help in the coordination of care that will lead to better outcomes and lower costs.”
Central Oregon providers’ quality scores for Medicare patients will be reported to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Merit-based Incentive Payment System, or MIPS. Providers will receive a publicly reported quality score based on these patients’ outcomes.
“St. Charles Medical Group and the health system’s population health team are working closely together to ensure our success in the ACO,” Guyn said. “We’re looking forward to the opportunities this new ACO will create for us to learn from other providers in the region and ultimately take better care of all our patients.”