Today, Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® officially announced a collaboration with The Iowa 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.
“As an integrated, patient-centric and physician lead organization, The Iowa Clinic has always been dedicated to enhancing the quality of care delivered to our patients in a cost effective manner,” said C. Edward Brown, CEO of The Iowa Clinic. “Our ACO partnership with Wellmark will further both our abilities to improve the health of patients and their outcomes while reducing the overall cost of care. We are pleased to be part of a collaboration that aspires to this objective.”
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.
Iowa Clinic patients will continue to be treated by their current physician and automatically receive the benefits of the ACO program at no additional cost. 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 Iowa 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.”
About The Iowa Clinic
The Iowa Clinic, P.C. is an independent, physician owned multi-specialty clinic with more than 170 physicians and healthcare providers practicing in 38 specialties. As one of the largest and most comprehensive healthcare clinics in the Midwest, The Iowa Clinic serves more than 400,000 patients annually. For more information visit www.iowaclinic.com.
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.