SOURCE: Monarch HealthCare

May 25, 2010 09:00 ET

Monarch HealthCare, HealthCare Partners, and Anthem Blue Cross Chosen for Innovative National Healthcare Program

Accountable Care Organization Pilot Will Help Improve Quality and Lower Costs

IRVINE, CA--(Marketwire - May 25, 2010) -  Two of Southern California's leading physician-governed medical groups, along with Anthem Blue Cross, have been selected for participation in a new and innovative, nationally-recognized healthcare model that rewards providers for improving patient outcomes, while slowing cost growth. 

Monarch HealthCare, an Irvine, California-based Medical Group and Independent Physician Association (IPA), and HealthCare Partners, a Torrance, California-based Medical Group and IPA, will collaborate with Anthem Blue Cross in an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) pilot project led by the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at Brookings and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. The selection of the two California organizations furthers the nationwide demonstration project already underway in three other communities. The demonstration project expects to produce a successful model that will be replicable throughout the country. 

Elliott Fisher, M.D., M.P.H., who along with Mark McClellan, M.D., PhD., is leading the Brookings-Dartmouth project, describes the ACO as "a provider-led organization willing to be accountable for the full continuum of care for its patients." The model encourages physicians, hospitals, and insurance companies to work together to coordinate care, improve quality, and reduce costs. 

Anthem Blue Cross expects that its PPO members in Los Angeles and Orange Counties whose physicians participate in the HealthCare Partners and Monarch ACOs will benefit from the care coordination, chronic disease management, increased provider accountability, and improved information for patient decision-making that are hallmarks of the new model. Because the ACO model introduces appropriate incentives for physicians to collaborate, be thoughtful in the provision of care, and meet or exceed quality benchmarks, it holds great promise for enhancing patient outcomes and increasing efficiency. 

Mike Ramseier, vice president, provider engagement and contracting with Anthem Blue Cross states, "Anthem Blue Cross is excited to be leading the way in California and nationally to transform the current delivery model by collaborating with employers, members, hospitals and physicians to provide our members with the right care, at the right time, and at the right cost.

President of Anthem Blue Cross Leslie A. Margolin added, "This program, along with our patient safety initiative Patient Safety First... a California Partnership for Health, where we have teamed up with the state's three hospital associations, and the National Health Foundation, are examples of our commitment to work together along with hospitals and medical groups to drive quality, cost and safety improvements across the state's system of care," said Margolin.

Jay Cohen, M.D., president and chairman of the board at Monarch, believes "this is a very exciting development for anyone who supports innovative ideas designed to improve healthcare delivery in the communities we serve. Monarch has always been a leader in this regard and is delighted to have been selected as a pilot site for this project."

He is joined in that anticipation by Robert J. Margolis, M.D., HealthCare Partners chairman and chief executive officer, who stated, "The ACO pilot is a win for everyone -- physicians providing superior clinical care for their patients, for patients receiving that care, and for all of us who want to wring unnecessary costs out of the healthcare system."

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