New UnitedHealthcare, Quality Health Services ACO to Cover 100,000 Patients

Quality Health Solutions, a collaborative of health systems in Wisconsin and the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, has announced an accountable care initiative with UnitedHealthcare.

When the accountable care organization launches Jan. 1, 2014, it will be one of the first multiple-system ACOs in the nation. In addition to the Medical College of Wisconsin, QHS' four southeastern Wisconsin members included in the ACO are Fond du Lac-based Agnesian Healthcare, Columbia St. Mary's and Froedtert Health, both in Milwaukee, and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare in Glendale, Wis. All together, the ACO includes 3,000 physicians and 18 hospitals.

"Our alliance of hospitals and physicians enables employers to offer a broad choice of providers, with the added benefit of saving money and improving quality of care," Peter Pruessing, CEO of QHS, said in a news release.

As part of the ACO, QHS providers will be rewarded for managing all aspects of patient care and for providing the right care in the right setting at the right time. Providers will be eligible for payment incentives based on improvements made in quality measures — like readmission rates and disease management — and for savings achieved.

"At UnitedHealthcare, our goal is to maximize quality and value by aligning incentives across consumers, care providers and payers to achieve the triple aim of better health, better care and lower costs," Wendy Arnone, president and CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Wisconsin, said in the release. "The scale and geographic footprint of this partnership with Quality Health Solutions will accelerate the transformation of how we pay for healthcare and how healthcare is delivered."

More than 100,000 Wisconsin residents covered by UnitedHealthcare's employer-sponsored health plans will be included in the ACO. The providers participating in the ACO account for $650 million of UnitedHealthcare's annual reimbursements in the state.

More Articles on Accountable Care Organizations:
ACO Manifesto: 50 Things to Know About Accountable Care Organizations
3 Best Practices for ACOs' Care Transition Programs
5 Recent ACO Findings

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