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Wellmark and McFarland Clinic enter into Accountable Care Organization
January 24, 2014

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. “Accountable care models are 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 McFarland Clinic

McFarland Clinic PC is central Iowa's largest physician-owned multi-specialty clinic. The McFarland Clinic PC network of health care providers serves residents in 12 Iowa communities with additional communities served by physician outreach clinics. We strive to be the trusted choice for coordinated healthcare delivered by caring professionals dedicated to individual well-being. For more information, please contact (515) 239-4400 or visit our website at

About Wellmark

Wellmark, Inc. ( ) 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.


Contact Wellmark Media Relations

Traci McBee
Phone: 515-376-4338


Teresa Roof
Phone: 515-376-5869


1331 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309-2901

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