Wilmington Health, BCBSNC partner for ACO
July 17, 2012By Vicky Janowski
Wilmington Health has teamed up with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina to launch an accountable care organization, the first of this type of collaboration with an insurance provider in the area, company officials announced Tuesday.
The accountable care organization, or ACO, model of care is a relatively new mechanism born out of the federal health care reform law that is still being defined and tested.
The intent is to have a network of health care providers sharing patient care responsibilities. Providers interested in receiving the designation for Medicare patients began submitting applications to the federal government earlier this year.
But health providers and insurers also have started forming ACOs on their own as well.
The ACO between Wilmington Health and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina [BCBSNC], the state’s largest health insurer, will depend “on transparency and coordination between the parent organizations and throughout the health care system to improve care and efficiencies while reining in costs,” according to a press release from the insurer.
“We’re on our way to a health care system in North Carolina that rewards doctors and hospitals for quality, not quantity of services. Organizations like these are an important step as we continue down this path,” said Don Bradley, chief medical officer for BCBSNC in a statement. “Wilmington Health has already shown leadership in improving quality through collaboration and teamwork. Together we can achieve our shared goals of improving efficiency and health outcomes while ultimately lowering health care costs for our customers.”
BCBSNC officials said the arrangement was still in the planning stages but added that the new organization would focus on areas such as preventive health and wellness, chronic disease management, reduction of avoidable hospital admissions and readmissions and improved efficiencies.
“With this physician-led model, we hope to improve the communication and coordination with other providers in the community and develop new partnerships,” said Wilmington Health CEO Jeff James in a statement. “We are excited about this relationship. This is the type of innovation that will be at the forefront of transforming the health care delivery system, and we greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with a respected industry leader like BCBSNC.”