Mercy, HCPA Receive Award for Accountable Care Innovation

SPRINGFIELD — The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) has presented the 2010 Management Innovations Poster Session Award to a team from Mercy Medical Center and Hampden County Physician Associates. The award was announced by Christopher Van Gorder, chairman of the ACHE board of governors, at the 2010 Congress on Healthcare Leadership in Chicago.

The winning poster presentation titled “A Successful Micro-accountable Care Organization as a Model for Evolving Payment Reform in Massachusetts,” profiles the comprehensive care management pilot program designed to improve care and reduce costs, improve the management of chronic disease, and reduce hospital admissions and readmissions through enhanced care management.

The model, developed in partnership by Mercy and HCPA, establishes a structural framework and key competencies that help define the evolving provider network known as accountable care organizations. The poster, presented by Dr. Phillip Gaziano of HCPA and Mark Fulco and Dr. William Bithoney of Mercy, also demonstrates how the model provides a high-value solution for the Mass. Special Commission on the Health Payment System proposal to move away from a fee-for-service payment methodology in favor of ‘global payment’ that shifts reimbursement toward performance measures and health outcomes.

“Mercy Medical Center and the Sisters of Providence Health System are fully committed to providing the highest quality of care that is as efficient and affordable as possible,” said Vincent McCorkle, president and CEO of the Sisters of Providence Health System.

“This recognition from the American College of Healthcare Executives is certainly an honor, but, more importantly, it validates our enhanced model of care. We have demonstrated that high-quality care does cost less, and that highly integrated, closely managed, person-centered care drives optimal clinical and financial results. Massachusetts has been a role model for the nation in health-insurance reform, and the Mercy-HCPA collaboration is a pioneering initiative that has placed us ahead of the health reform and payment reform curve. Mercy and the Sisters of Providence Health System will continue to be a key contributor in developing creative, effective solutions for the challenges we all face in navigating the new future of health reform.”

Robert Suchecki, president of Hampden County Physician Associates, added that “the future of health care delivery will need to focus on effective and highly coordinated care, a longstanding hallmark of HCPA’s medical practice philosophy. The successful ACO model is based on Dr. Gaziano’s breakthrough approaches to physician-driven, closely managed care coupled with Mercy Medical Center’s consistent ability to deliver high-quality, lower-cost hospital care, home care, and disease management.”

Gaziano noted that the HCPA-Mercy collaboration is a successful ‘medical home’ network that utilizes a realignment of incentives to achieve better clinical outcomes while simultaneously lowering medical costs.

“The clinical outcomes we achieved clearly demonstrate the impact of optimally managing chronic disease,” he said. “For example, utilization measured as in-patient hospital days was 50{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} less using our model of care compared with an unmanaged Medicare population. Likewise, the rate of patient readmissions within 30 days of hospital discharge was 50{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} less using our approach to care management. Although hospital utilization declined, patients often received more outpatient care that was timely and well-coordinated. This resulted in fewer acute episodes and lower costs.”

He added that patients largely endorsed the approach, with 86{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of those partaking in disease-management programs rating it as excellent or very good.

“Our judges reviewing the posters independently concluded that this poster was the most innovative and broadly applicable to the field of health care management,” said Dr. Thomas Dolan, president and CEO of ACHE. “The description of the micro-accountable care organization provided our conference attendees with a model that may be widely emulated as health care reform is implemented in the coming years.”

The poster was part of the Management Innovations Poster Session held annually since 1984 in conjunction with the Congress on Healthcare Leadership. The Management Innovations Poster Session is designed to share new ideas and methods that have been investigated and implemented in organizations, not only to share successes with colleagues, but also to obtain suggestions to further refine their innovations.

This year, 20 management-innovation posters were selected for presentation in the categories of quality, efficiency, access, cost, human resources, marketing, and revenue. The award recognizes the innovation judged to be the most creative, broadly applicable, and useful to the field of health care management.