ACO roundup: Five Texas health systems launch joint ACO

Key news from May 7 to May 13

The Daily Briefing editorial team rounds up accountable care news from the last week. 

  • How one hospital saved by integrating its palliative care program into its ACO. Peoria, Illinois-based OSF Healthcare has seen impressive returns on a palliative care program that it created in 2005 and has integrated into its Pioneer ACO. According to Linda Fehr, a nurse at OSF and the head of its supportive care program, the program so far has developed 18,000 advance care plans for patients, and early data suggest that each palliative-care consultation leads to $400 to $600 savings. 
  • CMS will incorporate the Pioneer ACO program into MSSP. CMS plans to expand the Pioneer program to other organizations by incorporating it into MSSP, but experts say it is not clear how participants achieved savings in the program's first two years and whether other groups can replicate that success. 
  • Hospitals create preferred networks for post-acute care. More health systems are creating health networks of skilled-nursing facilities and post-acute care providers based on quality and outcomes data—and many are finding that these networks lead to reduced readmission rates and shorter lengths of stay, Melanie Evans writes in Modern Healthcare.
  • Five Dallas health systems create 42-hosptial ACO. Five Dallas health systems announced the formation of a new joint ACO comprised of 42 hospitals, 72 outpatient facilities, and more than 5,400 physicians. The ACO will be called Forward Health Partners and will include Children's HealthSM, Cook Children's, Methodist Health System, Texas Health Resources, and UT Southwestern Medical Center.

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