Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

March 1, 2013

Hospitals testify on ACO implications

The Journal Express

---- — Hospitals were featured recently during two joint Health and Human Services Budget Subcommittee meetings. First, Iowa Health Systems and Mercy Health Network presented their Accountable Care Organization (ACO) activities. Both shared the same goals of ACO related to population health management and value-based care. Presenters contrasted ACO models versus managed care, highlighting that the focus is on improving the health of patients. Wellmark also presented on its ACO model, contrasting it with Medicare and describing that currently it only covers fully-insured members.

A day later, Kevin Kincaid, Chief Executive Officer at Knoxville Hospital & Clinics, presented before the subcommittee to provide his perspective on how ACOs will impact health care in rural Iowa and Critical Access Hospitals CAHs). He shared that certain services, like heart surgery, will continue to be provided in tertiary settings as rural providers are not equipped to provide such services.

However, Kincaid stated that he believes that the goals to improve the health of participating ACO patients, and to restrain costs through ACOs, will generate incentive for more services to be provided locally in CAHs where quality care can be delivered at a lower cost than the urban setting.

Additionally, Kincaid shared that Knoxville’s participation in an ACO results in enhanced primary care resources, like health coaches, in clinics, which is good for the care management of patients and ultimately the community of Knoxville.