Today, Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® officially announced a collaboration with McFarland Clinic to create an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). The new ACO will focus on coordinating patient care to improve quality, provide greater value, and slow increases in health care costs.
“McFarland Clinic is pleased to collaborate with Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® to create an ACO,” said Dr. Michael Kitchell, Chairman of the McFarland Clinic Board of Directors. “This is a natural fit with our organization’s ongoing mission and commitment to deliver coordinated, high quality, cost-effective care to our patients.
In an ACO providers assume responsibility for managing a population of patients, both who are healthy and those who are in need of care, no matter where in the system the patients receive care. Wellmark offers the providers financial rewards if they reach established quality goals and slow the rate in increase in health care spend in caring for these patients. At the same time, providers will not earn their financial incentive if their quality declines or their costs run higher than expected. Patients most likely to see the immediate benefits of the ACO are those who need help managing chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
The ACO will further enhance Wellmark members’ care in a variety of ways:
- Providers encouraging their patients to take an active role in their health care.
- Continued freedom to see the doctors of their choice.
- Seamless customer experience when setting up an appointment, seeing multiple doctors, and receiving follow up care.
- A reduction of unnecessary and redundant care and services.
“Wellmark is pleased to work with the McFarland Clinic leadership and physicians to transform patient care and build a more effective, sustainable health care delivery model,” said John Forsyth, Wellmark chairman and CEO. “This accountable care model is designed to increase collaboration and coordination to help our members stay healthier, avoid unnecessary or duplicative tests and treatments and, ultimately, reduce the increasing cost of health care.”