News Feature | July 28, 2014

ACO Initiative Advances Patient Care Services

By Karla Paris

ACO EMR Systems

Arizona’s healthcare system shifts from volume based care to a model that rewards quality and value.

Among the keys to delivering superior patient care is having the right information at the right time, in the hands of the right clinician. Accomplishing this coordinated care ensures patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors.

With that in mind, Banner Health Network (BHN) and UnitedHealthcare announced the launch of an accountable care organization (ACO) initiative which will provide improved care coordination and enhanced health services to nearly 50,000 UnitedHealthcare plan participants in Arizona.

BHN was one of the first care provider networks in Arizona to adopt the principles of accountable care, and one of the original 32 organizations nationally selected by the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to demonstrate the Medicare Pioneer Accountable Care Model. The Model is designed to work in coordination with private payers by aligning provider incentives, which will improve quality and health outcomes for patients across the ACO, while achieving cost savings for Medicare, employers, and patients.

As a non-profit health system, BHN operates 23 hospitals, as well as other specialized facilities, in seven western states. The health system is headquartered in Phoenix, AZ. Banner also operates in a number of other states including Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, Nevada, California, and Alaska. The organization provides emergency care, hospital care, ambulatory, hospice, long-term/home care, outpatient surgery centers, labs, and rehabilitation services.

It is expected that the BHN and UnitedHealthcare partnership will:

  • Create an Arizona-based, non-profit organization with statewide reach that will improve care for all Arizonans by delivering superior care to all who turn to this system.
  • Serve as a vital economic catalyst in creating Arizona's largest private employer, with major academic medical centers affiliated with UA Colleges of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix, thereby expanding the bioscience sectors in two of Arizona’s largest cities.
  • Secure long-term and significant private support to enhance the training of future physicians at the UA Colleges of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix.

This new ACO relationship is the latest in a series of partnerships UnitedHealthcare has launched in Arizona, all aimed at increasing quality and coordinated care. UnitedHealthcare recently announced similar arrangements with two other care provider networks in the Tucson and Phoenix areas.

SOURCE: Business Wire