From 2010 to 2012, Medicare spending per beneficiary grew at 1.7% annually, while the Michigan Pioneer ACO was able to reduce the expenditures of its Medicare beneficiaries by more than 4.5% from its financial baseline.
"When we all embarked on the ACO journey, many of us were unsure and anxious," noted Dr. Mohamed Siddique, the Chairman of the ACO Board of Directors. "But we were willing to take on the challenge of changing the course of healthcare in Southeast Michigan. We knew we would take care of one of the sickest patient populations. We strengthened our resolve and embarked on this challenging course with a strong partnership between our physicians and the DMC hospitals."
The focus of the ACO is not on cutting required care but rather on improving care transitions and care coordination. A primary example is the effort undertaken to ensure that patients see their primary care physician within 7 days after hospital discharge. This helps to reduce the chances of the patient being readmitted to the hospital.
Additional care management services are provided to the higher risk patients of the ACO, at no additional cost to them, to help ensure that their care is optimized. As a result of the various care management programs instituted by the ACO, admissions, readmissions and claims expenditures decreased over the course of the year.
"All of us wholeheartedly embraced the concept that underlies accountable care," said Stuart Lockman, President of the Michigan Pioneer ACO. "Keeping the patient well is the right thing to do. All of us believe in the triple aim of better health and better healthcare for our patients, at a lower cost for the system. "
"From humble beginnings we built an infrastructure and put care processes in place, always putting patients first and foremost, and always asking the question of how we can improve."
Under the Pioneer ACO Model, patients continue to have complete freedom of choice to choose their doctors and other care providers. The ACO also is responsible for satisfying the reporting requirements for the 33 nationally-recognized core quality measures designated by Medicare for the Pioneer ACO Model.
Joe Mullany, DMC Chief Executive Officer, said: "We are all very proud of the work the ACO has accomplished. With the commitment of our physicians, and the support of our parent, Vanguard Health Systems, we have accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time. "