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'The Business of Health Care Report'

What is an Accountable Care Organization?

Click to hear the taped broadcast.

I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

Early in 2012, Texas Health launched our first Accountable Care Organization — an A-C-O for short. That first ACO was a collaborative with North Texas Specialty Physicians. We were among 32 health systems in the country accepted as part of the federal Pioneer ACO program.

In January 2013, we announced two additional ACOs, one with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas and another with Aetna.

An ACO is a structure that closely aligns hospitals, physicians, employers and payers around the health needs of the individual. There are different models with different financial incentives, but all have similar goals to improve health and lower costs.

Through these collaborative efforts, we are moving forward with our commitment to transform from a fee-for-service model to a value based model on patient outcomes and coordinated care.

Primary care physicians serve as the decision makers and guides for each patient in the ACO. Texas Health is working with our strategic partner Healthways to equip doctors with the right information and toolsets that will help them deliver better and more cost-effective care to their patients.

Together we are transforming our organization from one that focuses on taking care of sick people to a new model of accountable care designed to keep people healthy.

For our faith-based health system — Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Arlington Memorial — I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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