Triad HealthCare Network, the Accountable Care Organization created by Cone Health and local physicians, is getting great results.
This is a big deal.
ACOs are a key part of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. They are intended to save money and improve care by coordinating efforts between different parts of the healthcare system. For example, instead of waiting for a diabetes-related problem to send someone to the emergency room, doctors and nurses use monitoring and outpatient services to keep the person healthier on an ongoing basis. This kind of medicine ends up being cheaper and more effective.
After certain thresholds are met, the savings are split between Medicare and the ACO.
THN met its marks for quality, and saved $21.51 million, of which it gets back $10.54 million. This is good for patients, for our local health system, and for the Medicare budget.
It's not easy work, and most ACOs did not qualify for money back in the latest period. It could take years for this to really pay off at the national level, at least in comparison with total Medicare spending. Credit THN and Cone leadership for recognizing the value of this program early, and executing well.
(Standard disclosure: I'm a CH trustee.)