Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY) and Wellmont Health System today described how their collaborative efforts in population health management recently led to the selection of the Wellmont Integrated Network Accountable Care Organization (ACO) in Medicare’s Shared Savings Program. In 2012, Healthways assisted Wellmont in preparing its ACO application and working through the selection process. Together, the two organizations will use their respective resources and capabilities to facilitate the work of this ACO. Healthways will supply solutions that will assist in evaluating and coordinating the health and well-being of the more than 10,000 Medicare Fee-for-Service beneficiaries expected to be served by the ACO through the network of physicians, providers, and hospitals delivering care through Wellmont Health System.
The Wellmont Health System and Healthways partnership announced in October of 2012 was specifically created to evolve the way health care is delivered in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Goals have been established to help increase the region’s percentage of “healthy” people; reduce per capita health-related risk; lower incidence and prevalence of chronic illness; create fewer complications from known chronic disease; lower morbidity; reduce utilization of healthcare services; reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions; lower medical cost; increase productivity and performance; and extend life expectancy.
Coming out of that partnership, the collaborative work to design the ACO was focused on achieving the requirements established by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), including 33 quality measures on care coordination and patient safety, appropriate use of preventive health services, improved care for at-risk populations, and patient and caregiver experience of care. ACOs must meet quality standards to ensure that savings are achieved through improving care coordination and providing care that is appropriate, safe, and timely.
"It is important that the Medicare beneficiaries in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia are able to consistently access high-quality, coordinated care and support," said Denny DeNarvaez, president and CEO of Kingsport-based Wellmont. "We are establishing this ACO with help from Healthways to work through our recognized and coordinated, integrated provider network. We are about more than just treating the sick – we also value our ability to keep people well and keep them out of the hospital. The implementation of the ACO is geared toward the premise that healthier people cost less, and we intend to prove that point while improving the quality of care and support we deliver.”