Two Illinois health care groups picked for new Medicare program
BY MONIFA THOMAS Sun-Times Media July 9, 2012 9:32PM
Two Illinois-based health care groups have been selected to join a new Medicare program designed to improve elderly patient care and lower costs, the Obama administration announced Monday.
Oak Brook-based Advocate Health Care, one of the nation’s largest accountable care organizations, and Chicago Health System, based in Westmont and a part of Vanguard Health Chicago, were among the 89 organizations chosen from 40 states and Washington, D.C. by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to be part of the so-called Medicare Shared Savings Program.
Under the program, if participants can reduce the cost of caring for the Medicare patients they see while maintaining their health, they’ll get to keep and divide up some of the savings. That’s a switch from the traditional fee-for-service payment system used now.
Advocate Health Care launched a similar program for people with private insurance with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois in January 2011.
The Medicare Shared Savings Program, which is part of President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care overhaul, went into effect for this group on July 1. Participants must be accountable care organizations, which means they’re composed of groups like hospitals and insurance companies to work together to provide care for elderly people.
There are now 154 accountable care organizations that have signed up to the program, covering 2.4 million Medicare patients. The next round of eligibility will begin accepting applicants in August.
CMS estimates that the program will save $940 million over four years.
Also approved on Monday were four other accountable care organizations in other states that count Illinoisans among their Medicare patients. They are: Deaconess Care Integration, Genesis Accountable Care Organization, Iowa Health Accountable Care and BJC HealthCare ACO.