Williamsport, PA (PRWEB) January 21, 2014
Susquehanna Health announces the recent approval of River Health Accountable Care Organization (ACO) LLC by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). One of 123 new ACOs in Medicare, River Health ACO, LLC is comprised of PinnacleHealth System, Susquehanna Health, Family Practice Centers, Annville Family Medicine, Laurel Health Centers and Susquehanna Community Health & Dental Center. This alliance was formed on April 15, 2013 to improve access, cost, quality and patient experience for residents of central Pennsylvania.
As of January 1, 2014, River Health ACO began working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide Medicare beneficiaries with high-quality care while reducing growth in Medicare expenditures. This goal is accomplished by providing better coordination of care, offering additional services to patients with chronic disease conditions and focusing more attention on health and wellness.
“River Health ACO’s approval is a very important next step in upholding our health system’s tradition of providing high-quality, patient-centered care,” said William McCauley, MD, President of Susquehanna Health Medical Group. “As healthcare providers, we recognize the need to share information in a way that improves the health and wellness of our patients and communities in the most cost-effective manner.”
Medicare beneficiaries, served by physicians in the participating organizations, under the River Health ACO were notified with letters from their physicians. Neither the physicians nor Medicare coverage will change. Patients may continue to see any physician who is in Medicare as well as those who are not members of the River Health ACO. Choosing a physician who participates in the River Health ACO ensures the patient receives additional care coordination. “The ACO model enables the patient and provider to further develop a partnership to make the best care decisions,” McCauley said.
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. Patients who are well will receive activities and wellness information, such as immunizations and screenings, to help detect illness or prevent it before it becomes serious.
Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, more than 360 ACOs have been established and serve greater than 5.3 million Americans with Medicare. ACOs are established by physicians, hospitals and health care providers as a means for working more closely together to provide higher-quality coordinated care to their patients, while helping to slow growth in health care costs.
Beneficiaries who visit health care providers in ACOs always have the freedom to choose providers inside or outside of the ACO. ACOs share with Medicare any savings generated from lowering health care costs when they meet standards for high quality care established through the Medicare Shared Savings Program. ACOs must meet quality standards to ensure that savings are achieved through improving care coordination and providing care that is appropriate, safe and timely. The CMS evaluates ACO quality performance using 33 quality measures on patient and caregiver experience of care, care coordination and patient safety, improved care for at-risk populations and appropriate use of preventive health services.
The new ACOs include a diverse cross-section of healthcare providers across the country including providers delivering care in underserved areas. More than half of all ACOs are physician-led organizations that serve fewer than 10,000 beneficiaries. About one in five ACOs include community health centers, rural health clinics and critical access hospitals that serve low-income and rural communities.
Additional information about River Health ACO, LLC and participating providers is available at http://www.riverhealthaco.org. For a list of the 123 new ACOs, visit http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-Fee-for-Service-Payment/sharedsavingsprogram/Downloads/2014-ACO-Contacts-Directory.pdf.
About Susquehanna Health
Susquehanna Health is a four-hospital integrated health system including Divine Providence Hospital, Muncy Valley Hospital, Soldiers + Sailors Memorial Hospital and Williamsport Regional Medical Center located in North Central Pennsylvania. Serving patients from an 11-county region, Susquehanna Health is a healthcare leader and has been recognized at the national and state levels for quality of care. Susquehanna Health offers a wide array of services that include cancer care, heart and vascular care/heart surgery, neurosciences including neurosurgery, orthopedics, urology, OB/GYN, gastrointestinal services, behavioral health, physical rehabilitation, home care, long term care, assisted living and paramedic/ambulance services.
About Laurel Health Centers
Laurel Health Centers offer family-based health services provided by family practitioners, general practitioners, and specialists in internal medicine, pediatrics and nephrology. Primary healthcare services as well as special health services and educational programs are available through all six the Federally Qualified Health Centers.
About Susquehanna Community Health & Dental Center
Susquehanna Community Health & Dental Center’s mission is to extend God’s healing by providing inclusive, quality primary medical and dental care to all those who need it in the Lycoming County region. Susquehanna Community Health & Dental Center is part of the Lycoming County Health Improvement Coalition, a voluntary collaboration representing various sectors of the community, including religious organizations, schools and higher education, minority groups, municipal and county government, public health, health care, civic and community organizations, the private sector, and social welfare organizations.
About Annville Family Medicine
Annville Family Medicine is dedicated to the wellness of our community and patients, while providing personalized care with quality and integrity. Annville Family Medicine provides care for newborns through geriatric age patients. This includes well child care visits, well adult visits, complete physical exams, school physicals, work physicals, pre-op physicals, camp physicals and acute (sick) visits, etc. For more information, visit annvillefm.com.
About Family Practice Center, PC
Family Practice Center, PC is a professional corporation comprised of 62 Family Practice, Internal Medicine and Internal Medicine-Pediatrics physicians and their 600 employees spread over 28 offices in 9 Central Pennsylvania counties. Our primary focus is providing comprehensive healthcare to our 210,000 patients while being active in the communities we serve. For 33 years our mission has been and will continue to be providing our patients and their families with quality and compassionate care with a focus on education, health maintenance and wellness in a comfortable location and time.
About PinnacleHealth System
PinnacleHealth is a pioneer not-for-profit healthcare system dedicated to improving the health and quality of life for the people of Central Pennsylvania since 1873. A proven leader in medical innovation, PinnacleHealth offers a wide range of services from primary care to the most complex surgeries and Magnet recognition for nursing excellence. The healthcare network includes four campuses (Community, West Shore, Harrisburg and Polyclinic). The West Shore Hospital will open in Hampden Township in 2014. The five-story hospital will include 108 beds with an emergency department, medical/surgical care, cardiology, orthopedics, chronic disease management, and private patient rooms. Medical services, including family practice, imaging, outpatient surgery and oncology are offered at multiple locations throughout the region. For a complete list of services, visit our website at pinnaclehealth.org.