ACE Demonstration Project for Medicare Cardiac Patients Saving Lives and Improving Care

Share Article

The Acute Care Episode (ACE) demonstration project officially went live at Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital in November 2010 and a number of patients have now completed their care in the program.

The greatest benefit we’ve seen so far has been the commitment to maintain our outstanding quality of care and patient satisfaction.

The Acute Care Episode (ACE) demonstration project officially went live at Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital in November 2010 and a number of patients have now completed their care in the program. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) created the ACE project, a hospital-based pilot project designed to improve the coordination and quality of care while testing the effectiveness of a single – or bundled – payment to hospitals and physicians for selected inpatient cardiac services.

CMS is the single largest payer of health care services in the nation and traditionally pays hospitals and physicians separately and differently. Hospital payments are based on a discharge diagnosis, and physicians are paid based on a fee-for-service scale. The ACE demonstration project combines those two payments into a single payment (based on the discharge diagnosis) that the hospital and physician share. As a result, the hospital and physician must work collaboratively to make the best medical decisions possible thereby ensuring patients receive the highest quality care in the most efficient way possible.

Because Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital is one of five hospitals in the nation, and the only Colorado hospital selected to pilot this project, Exempla Saint Joseph has received the distinction of being named a “Medicare Value-Based Care Center.” Achieving this distinction through work for many years with Kaiser Permanente and Saint Joseph’s community-based cardiovascular team, this recognition affords Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital unique opportunities to elevate and expand the quality and delivery of care provided to all of its patients through means such as improvement in clinical pathways and enhanced coordination of care between specialists. This coordination allowed the hospital to find savings early on as physicians joined with the hospital to find efficiencies.

In order to participate in the ACE project, patients must meet the following criteria:

  •     Are a "traditional" Medicare beneficiary and
  •     Have BOTH Medicare Part A and Part B Coverage and
  •     Are NOT enrolled in a Medicare Managed Care/Senior Advantage program and
  •     Do NOT have Medicaid as your secondary insurance        

Patients may also qualify for a payment directly from Medicare of up to $1,157. “Exempla is actively seeking qualified patients for the ACE demonstration project,” according to Dr. Clarke Godfrey.

“The greatest benefit we’ve seen so far has been the commitment to maintain our outstanding quality of care and patient satisfaction. In addition, we’re seeing much more collaboration among physicians and the hospital to create cost savings and improve care delivery,” stated Dr. Clarke Godfrey, a cardiologist and one of the physician champions of the ACE project at Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital.

Consumer Reports magazine recently released its ratings of heart-bypass surgical groups, identifying the 50 top-rated groups in the country. Included on the list is the Exempla Front Range Cardiac & Vascular Surgery group that practices at Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital. For traditional fee-for-service Medicare patients, this means award-winning care and the opportunity to share in the savings.    

Medicare’s selection of the Saint Joseph Hospital Cardiac & Vascular Institute validates the program’s consistently high levels of quality care, reinforcing that quality is the core value of Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital’s health care ministry. The hospital and physicians are pleased with how the project is moving forward and with the outcomes of the ACE project to date.

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Sharon Burnette
Visit website