How one ACO helped coordinate care for a woman's sick mother and husband

WFPL, a public radio station in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday aired a segment highlighting the benefits of ACOs from the patient perspective.

Here are six things to know.

1. The segment focused on Rande Swann's struggle to concurrently take care of her 80-year-old husband, Don, and her 92-year-old mother when they were both sick last October. She recounts the day Don fell while trying to climb the stairs, just a week after he was discharged from the hospital for a partial knee surgery.

"I'd been in the ER with my 92-year-old mother all day long because she had blockages in the bowel ducts," said Ms. Swann. "I finally get her settled and come home to check on him and [Don is] lying splayed out in the first floor foyer in pain."

2. The stress of her caregiver role pushed Ms. Swann into a dark place, according to the report.

"It was like, I have this sizable life insurance policy on me," she said. "If they can't get him in a nursing home, at least if I die, then he's well cared for. There's plenty of money to take care of that. There will be enough funds to take care of mother."

3. Ms. Swann credits KentuckyOne Health Partners — the ACO of Louisville-based KentuckyOne Health, a division of Englewood, Colo.-based Catholic Health Initiatives — for relieving this stress.

4. Misty Stallard is a former nurse who now works for KentuckyOne Health Partners. She helps schedule appointments and connects patients to the care they need. After Don fell, Ms. Stallard not only helped find a nursing home for him to recover in, she also got him into the same nursing home Ms. Swann's mother was living in.

"They arranged to put them next to each other so I could sit in the middle of their rooms and see about their care at all times," Ms. Swann said.

5. Since KentuckyOne launched its ACO, key metrics like "hospital length of stays" and "readmissions within 30 days of hospital discharge" have decreased by half and quality scores have increased. Last year, the company saved $18 million for its Medicare patients alone, according to the report.

6. Despite these benefits, many people — including Ms. Swann — don't realize they're even part of an ACO or that the programs stem from the ACA.

"Even having gone through all this, I didn't realize it was tied to the ACA," Ms. Swann said. "In fact, my husband said 'does this have anything to do with Obamacare,' and I said no."

More articles on ACOs:
ACOs have minimal effect on provider consolidation: 3 study findings
Saint Luke's Health System, UnitedHealthcare launch ACO
ACO Partner contracted 325 physicians since 2016


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