Several local health care organizations are represented among the seven new Medicare accountable care organizations selected for the Shared Savings Program in Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Pennsylvania's seven new ACOs are as follows.
• Allegiance ACO
• Lancaster General Health Community Care Collaborative LLC
• LHS Health Network LLC
• Saint Vincent Shared Savings Program ACO LLC
• THP-Meritus ACO LLC
Doctors, hospitals and health care providers establish ACOs in order to work together to provide higher-quality coordinated care to their patients, while helping to slow health care cost growth, HHS said. ACOs must meet quality standards to ensure that savings are achieved through improving care coordination and providing care that is appropriate, safe and timely.
PinnacleHealth System, which is part of River Health ACO, said in a news release that Medicare beneficiaries who fall under the ACO will be notified with letters from their physicians. Doctors and Medicare coverage will not change, and patients can still see any doctors who are in Medicare, even those who are not members of the River Health ACO.
"However, by choosing physicians participating in the River Health ACO, they will receive more coordinated care," the release said. "The physicians and staff of River Health ACO will work with Medicare beneficiaries who have complex chronic conditions, such as diabetes or congestive heart failure, to provide care management between medical visits. For patients who are well, wellness information and activities, such as screenings and immunizations, will help prevent or detect illness before it becomes serious."
Nationwide, the 123 newly approved ACOs bring the total of ACOs established since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to more than 360.
The next application period for organizations interested in participating in the Shared Savings Program beginning January 2015 will be in summer 2014.