It’s taking a long time to connect all the dots, but slowly health care reform is making headway. The latest example of progress was the agreement signed recently between Care New England, Rhode Island Primary Care Physicians Corp. and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island to create a fully integrated, accountable-care payment model, the first of its kind in the state that includes all aspects of patient care.
Accountable-care organizations are a fact of life, and they have proven that the cost of health care can be brought down – Coastal Medical’s Medicaid Shared Savings Program produced savings in the last fiscal year that were 5.5 percent below what the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expected in its first full year of implementation.
Adding the hospital setting to this approach, in which savings come back to participants in terms of incentive payments, is the final piece of the puzzle in wrestling ballooning health care costs to more sustainable levels. Now it’s time for more physicians, hospitals and insurers to get into the act. •