Ballad Health saves taxpayers nearly $60 million

Published 1:35 pm Thursday, October 22, 2020

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Accountable Care Organization one of only 18 in the nation to generate material savings for taxpayers in every year of the federal initiative, while delivering top-decile quality results
JOHNSON CITY – AnewCare Collaborative, Ballad Health’s Accountable Care Organization, is again one of only 18 Accountable Care Organizations in the country to generate enough savings for taxpayers for the entire seven years of the program to trigger shared savings under the program, according to results released recently by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
 The Appalachian Highlands’ first Accountable Care Organization, AnewCare has generated just under $60 million dollars in total savings for taxpayers since its creation in 2012, with $5.4 million in savings in 2019 alone. These savings reduce the cost of healthcare for the federal Medicare program. And, while delivering tens of millions of dollars in savings to taxpayers, AnewCare has also delivered consistently high-quality scores, as reported by the Medicare program.
 The goal of an Accountable Care Organization – commonly referred to as an ACO – is to create healthier communities while reducing the total cost of healthcare. ACOs are a partnership composed of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers who voluntarily collaborate to improve health outcomes, care quality and patient satisfaction, while also lowering the overall cost of care. The goal of coordinated care is to ensure patients – especially those with chronic illnesses – get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors.
 A total of 541 unique ACOs participated in the Medicare Shared Savings Program in 2019.
 “Ballad Health’s vision is to deliver high-quality healthcare while reducing the cost of healthcare for our patients and for the taxpayers,” said Dr. Stephen Combs, chair of the AnewCare Board of Directors. “We are delivering on this vision because of the support and collaboration of our participating physician and provider partners and the enthusiastic support of Ballad Health.”
 Hundreds of physicians and other providers from Virginia and Tennessee partner with Ballad Health to deliver on the vision of AnewCare. Owned and operated by Ballad Health, financial resources and human capital are provided to help integrate and coordinate care. While owned by Ballad Health, the governance of AnewCare is delegated to a governing board composed of physicians affiliated with Ballad Health Medical Associates and independent practices unaffiliated with Ballad Health. One board member is an active Medicare beneficiary designated to represent Medicare patients’ interests.
 To more successfully navigate the changing healthcare system, many physicians recognize the advantages of joining an ACO such as AnewCare, where they can share information and responsibility in providing patient-centered care.
 AnewCare providers also gain access to additional support staff, new communication systems and the latest data on methods and procedures for particular conditions.
 “I am very proud of AnewCare’s clinicians, their teams and the ACO staff for the fantastic results to date,” said Dr. Shari Rajoo, medical director for AnewCare.
 “This is a group of local providers affiliated with a local Accountable Care Organization, and the commitment to quality, access and innovation is palpable. We are serving our relatives, friends and neighbors, and this is a critical mission for us. As we work together to ensure the highest quality for those we care for, we are also keenly focused on propelling care delivery forward in new, continually patient-centered, ways. Personally, I feel privileged to work with such a group and look forward to the year to come.”

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