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1,800 Michigan Doctors Launch Effort To Improve Health Care For Medicare Patients

"The state of Michigan has been a leader in health care quality efforts. Many have focused on improving care and containing costs for patients with private insurance, but this new ACO focuses specifically on traditional Medicare," says David Spahlinger, M.D., executive director of the U-M FGP and the chief executive officer of POM ACO. "Our member physicians are ready to take their already strong quality-improvement efforts and focus them on improving the care of the traditional Medicare patient."  

The new ACO leverages U-M's experience, including its year of running a Pioneer ACO, which has just begun its second year of coordinating the care of 25,000 Medicare participants together with the IHA physician group.

"POM ACO allows us to strengthen our relationship with physicians across the state, and bolster our position as one of the largest and most highly regarded population health organizations in the country," says Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Michigan and CEO of UMHS. "This is part of our statewide mission, and our goal of using our knowledge to improve care through new practices, policies and partnerships. Additionally, it builds on several years of our experience and demonstrated success developing ACO models."

POM ACO grew out of discussions with physician groups around the state. Many wanted to get involved in the ACO movement, but did not have the resources to do so alone.

The other physician groups with members in POM ACO are:

  • Advantage Health/Saint Mary's Care Network
  • Crawford Mercy Physician Hospital Organization
  • Lakeshore Health Network
  • Oakland Southfield Physicians
  • Olympia Medical Services
  • Physicians' Organization of Western Michigan (POWM)
  • United Physicians
  • Wexford Physician Hospital Organization

Advantage Health, Lakeshore, Crawford and Wexford are all affiliated with the Trinity Health System, and serve the western and northern parts of lower Michigan. United Physicians, which includes most physicians who practice at the Beaumont hospitals, is the largest physician organization in Michigan. POWM was U-M's partner in the formation of the Physician Organization of Michigan in late 2010.

Says Paul Ponstein, D.O., executive medical director of POM ACO, "Accountable care is increasingly seen by physicians across the nation as an opportunity to improve medical care for the people we serve at a lower cost. Linking the leadership of these excellent physician organizations with UM's ACO knowledge and expertise has huge potential for Michigan's Medicare patients."

Says Spahlinger, "By forming this ACO with members of nine physician groups, we can drive positive change in the care of Medicare beneficiaries with physician leaders steering the effort."

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