Texas Health Resources (Texas Health) and Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY) today provided insight into one aspect of their 10-year strategic agreement to dramatically change not only the way people in North Texas access and receive health care, but also to fundamentally transform the way people think about their “health”. Together, the two organizations will deploy their integrated physician-directed population health solution to drive health outcomes and cost savings through the newly created Texas Health accountable care organization (ACO) developed for a collaboration with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. In announcing the formation of the ACO earlier this week, Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, said, "This agreement to establish an ACO is another example of the innovative approaches that we believe will lead to truly effective healthcare reform. Texas Health has been advancing the concept of putting more emphasis on keeping people healthy and out of the hospital and developing new programs like this ACO to help employers keep their employees healthy. By creating this ACO, Texas Health is delivering on our promise to collaborate with physicians, payers, employers and other health systems to align the efforts of all of us around what is best for the patient across the entire continuum of care.” Hawthorne today added, “As we design, finalize and then launch this initial commercial ACO agreement, we have had and will continue to have Healthways engaged as our strategic partner.” Texas Health and Healthways envision that results should include an increase in the percentage of healthy people; a reduction in per capita health-related risk; lower incidence and prevalence of chronic illness; fewer complications from known chronic disease; lower morbidity; lower utilization of health care services; fewer hospital readmissions; lower medical cost; increased productivity and performance and extended life expectancy. Results such as these are the ultimate objectives of the ACO model. The model also includes rewards to physicians for managing the underlying health and costs of their patient population as they move from the traditional fee-for-service approach to a fee-for-value payment model.