Today, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa officially announced a collaboration with Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City 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.
John Forsyth, Wellmark chairman and CEO said, “Wellmark is pleased to enter into this joint ACO agreement with Mercy - Cedar Rapids and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, to improve patient outcomes, help healthy people maintain good health, and slow the rate of cost increases.”
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 of increase in health care spending 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.
"The success of health care reform depends on transforming into more efficient and collaborative healthcare systems and assisting patients with establishing a 'medical home'," said Timothy Charles, President and CEO of MercyCare Service Corporation and Mercy Medical Center-Cedar Rapids. "Expanding our team approach through this ACO partnership, Mercy, UI Health Care and Wellmark will improve patient care and reduce healthcare costs by providing access to a broader, more comprehensive range of healthcare services, resulting in collaborative and coordinated care."
“As the state’s only comprehensive academic medical center, we view this relationship as a powerful way to demonstrate the value of collaboration,” stated Jean E. Robillard, MD, Vice President for Medical Affairs for UI Health Care. “We believe that we will be in a unique position to offer comprehensive, high quality, well-integrated, and very efficient care to patients. This new relationship also offers us the opportunity to demonstrate innovation and creativity in changing the ‘value proposition’ for health care and having a major impact on population health and well-being.”
The ACO will enhance Wellmark members’ care in a variety of ways:
- Work with their providers 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 redundant care and services.
Wellmark, Inc. (www.Wellmark.com) does business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Wellmark and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, including Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc., insure or pay health benefit claims for more than 2 million members in Iowa and South Dakota. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
About Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids
For 113 years, Mercy Medical Center has delivered The Mercy Touch to its patients by partnering the latest technology with compassionate and high-quality health care.
A subsidiary of MercyCare Service Corporation, Mercy is a fully-accredited 445 licensed-bed regional hospital based in Cedar Rapids, IA. Founded in 1900 by the Sisters of Mercy, today it offers a wide range of patient-centered services, including world-class cancer care at the Hall-Perrine Cancer Center. Mercy has the most advanced private patient suites in the eastern Iowa Corridor as well as an established network of primary and urgent care clinics located throughout Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities.
For more information, log onto http://www.mercycare.org, or follow Mercy on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MercyCedarRapids; on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mercycr; on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/MercyMedicalCenterCR; and Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/mercycr.
About University of Iowa Health Care
UI Health Care is a fully integrated academic medical center, uniting the UI Roy and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and UI Physicians, the largest multi-specialty group practice in Iowa. As the state’s only comprehensive academic medical center, UI Health Care is committed to world class patient care, biomedical research and medical education. UI Health Care is changing medicine through pioneering discovery, innovative interprofessional education, delivery of superb clinical care, and an extraordinary patient experience in a multi-disciplinary, collaborative team-based environment. UI Health Care is changing lives by