By: Chris Eversole
New accountable care organization aims to improve health of Medicare patients while reducing costs.
A group of local physicians and a national health care company are working together to implement health reform, promising to improve care for Medicare patients they serve while saving money.
The local group, Physician Care Network, has formed a partnership with CollaborativeHealth Systems.
The joint organization, the Accountable Care Coalition of North Central Florida, includes 50 general practice physicians and 25 specialists, serving 5,000 patients, says Chuck Trinchitella, the senior vice president of Collaborative Health Systems.
The Affordable Care Act calls for creating accountable care organizations (ACO’s).Through this mechanism, primary care doctors will play a greater role in coordinating the care oftheir patients, Trinchitella says.
Collaborative Health System is providing a technology system and staff to assist in thiscoordination.
“The ACO will make care more efficient, such as by avoiding duplicate tests,” Trinchitella says. “The primary care physicians will take a greater role in connecting patients with specialists. We also will encourage patients to get more preventative care, such as annual physicals.”
Patients will remain free to choose whichever physician the want for their care,Trinchitella says.
ACO’s have an incentive to reduce costs; the federal government will split the savingswith them.
The federal government estimates that the ACO initiative will result in saving of up to$940 million over four years, Trinchitella says.