April 11, 2012
Catholic Medical Partners, a network of more than 900 local independent practicing physicians, Catholic Health and Mount St. Mary’s Hospital, announced today that it has been selected to participate in a national program aimed at improving quality and realizing cost savings in providing healthcare for Medicare patients.
The local physician and hospital network was one of 27 organizations across the country, and the only one from Western New York, to be chosen for the federal shared savings Accountable Care Organization (ACO) program. The announcement came from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Washington, DC.
“This is a milestone moment in the effort to reform and improve healthcare in Western New York,” said Dennis R. Horrigan, President and CEO, Catholic Medical Partners. “The commitment of our physician partners and our strategic relationship with Catholic Health is enabling this transformation and we are excited to have the opportunity to serve our Medicare and Medicaid patient populations as an Accountable Care Organization and to move our community closer to realizing the goals of true healthcare reform – improved quality, improved patient experience and lower cost.”
“The goals of the Accountable Care Organization are aligned with Catholic Health’s work as a High Performing Catholic Healthcare System and with our mission of transforming the delivery of healthcare in Western New York,” added Joe McDonald, President and CEO, Catholic Health.
The Shared Savings Program was created as part of the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law of 2010, to better coordinate care for Medicare patients through ACOs. Instead of patients having to navigate the complex health system on their own, these ACOs will work hand-in-hand with patients to ensure patients do not slip through the cracks. ACOs will encourage providers to work more closely together than ever before and offer incentives to providers that better coordinate a patient’s care and treat patients across care settings – including doctors’ offices, hospitals, and other health care settings. The Shared Savings Program is not a Medicare Advantage plan or an HMO. Beneficiaries with fee-for-service Medicare will still have the right to use any doctor or hospital who accepts Medicare, at any time.
Today’s announcement is the culmination of a comprehensive selection process that began in the fall of 2011 with the national release of the Medicare Shared Savings Program application by CMS. Catholic Medical Partners was selected based on rigorous eligibility criteria and program requirements.
"Accountable Care Organizations will improve coordination and communication among physicians and other providers which will help improve care and lower costs for Medicare beneficiaries,” said Marilyn B. Tavenner, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “We are excited to welcome Catholic Medical Partners as a partner with Medicare and look forward to working with them to improve care for Medicare beneficiaries in Western New York."
The Shared Savings Program will reward ACOs that lower the rate of growth in health care costs for Medicare beneficiaries while meeting performance standards on quality of care and putting patients first. ACOs are groups of doctors and other health care providers working together to provide high quality service and care for their patients. Provider participation in an ACO is purely voluntary and Medicare beneficiaries retain their current ability to seek treatment from any provider they wish.
CMS will use robust quality measures to reward ACOs, including Catholic Medical Partners, for providing Medicare beneficiaries with a positive patient experience and better health outcomes, while also reducing growth in Medicare expenditures for the same patient population. The Catholic Medical Partners ACO will be comprised of primary care physicians and specialists who are members of Catholic Medical Partners, as well as the many acute and sub-acute care facilities of the Catholic Health System and Mount St. Mary’s Hospital.
For Catholic Medical Partners, the inclusion in the ACO program is the culmination of several years’ work.
The organization has been at the forefront of several initiatives aimed at improving clinical integration and efficiency while fostering an environment of patient-centered care. Thirty medical practices affiliated with Catholic Medical Partners have earned the highest level of recognition under the national Physician Practice Connections®- Patient Centered Medical Home™ program, which is administered by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving healthcare quality. Catholic Medical Partners also received Patient Oriented Accreditation from NCQA for its Cardiovascular Disease, Congestive Heart Failure and Diabetes Disease Management Programs.
In addition, more than 80 percent of Catholic Medical Partners’ affiliated practices have adopted certified Electronic Health Record technology, well above the national average of 57 percent. The organization has also assisted 89 eligible physicians achieve Meaningful Use standards as detailed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“Over the past six years, our work has focused on developing the core attributes of an Accountable Care Organization, namely changing and improving the way healthcare is delivered through the use of clinical teams, technology, clinical integration and patient engagement,” said Dr. Michael Edbauer, DO, Chief Medical Officer, Catholic Medical Partners. “We firmly believe that the future of healthcare and the road to healthcare improvement are rooted in accountability and collaboration, including physicians, facilities and patients. Engaging all partners across the continuum of care is essential to changing the way the healthcare delivery system works, locally and nationally.”
Catholic Medical Partners is the largest group of independent practicing physicians in Western New York. Through the development and implementation of clinical integration programs, the organization and its members are focused on improving the efficiency, safety and quality in delivering medical care based on coordination, an educated and involved patient population and the sharing of information and resources that will make a difference in patients’ lives.