August 9, 2013 at 6:55 AM
NEWARK, NJ – Barnabas Health and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey have just announced that they are joining forces to create an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) program which will focus on delivering more effective health care at a lower cost. The new ACO is scheduled to begin Sept. 1.
Accountable Care Organizations are designed to foster a strong primary care foundation to create a healthier population, improve the patient experience, and control cost of care. The goal is to also achieve measured patient quality outcomes and decrease unnecessary and duplicative medical tests and treatments.
As part of the agreement, Horizon BCBSNJ will provide care coordination payments to the ACO. This is said to result in additional accountability for improving health, the patient experience and controlling cost of care for Horizon BCBSNJ Medicare Advantage patients. In turn, the ACO must also meet certain health improvement, patient satisfaction and cost goals in order to share in the resulting savings.
“As we enter a new age of health care, in which we will be responsible for managing populations of patients, the relationships we establish must share our values of improving the quality, access and efficiency of the care we deliver,” said Dr. Anthony Slonim, executive vice-president and chief medical officer of Barnabas Health and president of the Barnabas Health Medical Group. “Barnabas Health is extremely proud to collaborate with our physicians and Horizon in the implementation of a new health care model that will advance the level of care patients receive throughout the state.”
“Our collaborative ACO program highlights our mutual desire to transform the health care delivery system in New Jersey by providing support to improve care coordination and positive patient outcomes,” said Jim Albano, vice-president, Network Management and Horizon Healthcare Innovations, Horizon BCBSNJ
This collaboration with Barnabas Health (New Jersey’s largest hospital and integrated health-care delivery system) through its affiliated accountable care organizations, Barnabas Health ACO-North, LLC and Central Jersey ACO, LLC, marks Horizon BCBSNJ’s (the state’s oldest and largest health insurer) fifth Accountable Care Organization or population health initiative to launch within the past year.
“Collectively, these accountable care innovations inject a new level of collaboration and quality standards into our health delivery system and help remove wasteful, unnecessary costs,” Albano added.
Horizon BCBSNJ has a number of patient-centered programs, including Accountable Care Organizations, Patient-Centered Medical Homes, and programs focused on Episodes of Care (i.e. joint replacement). More than 320,000 members and 1,400 doctors are participating in Horizon BCBSNJ’s patient-centered programs that are working to improve patient care while controlling costs.