Four hospitals and health systems in Iowa have formed a company to help manage their costs of providing care and develop shared protocols to improve patient care.
The University of Iowa Health Alliance, which will operate as a limited liability company, will not involve any changes in ownership or control of the participating organizations, according to a news release
However, each organization will supply two board members who will be responsible for choosing how the company will engage financially, said Joe LeValley, a senior vice president of planning and advocacy at Mercy Medical Center, a participating hospital in Des Moines.
Participants in the alliance are the University of Iowa Health Care, a 699-bed hospital in Iowa City; Genesis Health System, a three-hospital system based in Davenport, Iowa; Mercy Medical Center, a 238-bed hospital in Cedar Rapids; and Mercy Health Network, a network of 11 hospitals operating under a joint agreement between Catholic Health Initiatives and Trinity Health.
"UIHA will create a platform for sharing expertise, selected support services and information technologies needed to succeed in the emerging 'accountable care' systems and payment programs," Mercy Medical stated in the release.
Alliance members will work to promote patient access to the medical-home model of care, develop performance metrics and share best practices, and share the costs of implementing information systems and analyzing clinical data, among other efforts.
Each of the organizations has applied to participate in the Medicare shared-savings program, and they have also established separate ACO initiatives. UI Health Care and Mercy Medical Center
announced in April that they planned to form an ACO. Other examples of separate ACO initiatives include Mercy Medical Center
in Des Moines and Genesis Health System
participating in ACOs with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa.
"The beauty of this alliance is that each participant can maintain its independence while enjoying all the benefits of the larger network's capabilities and cost savings," said Tim Charles, president and CEO of Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, in the release. "The changes occurring in healthcare delivery and financing are daunting, and we all look forward to working together to create success in the future environment."
Other healthcare providers in Iowa and nearby states are encouraged to join the alliance, the organizations said in the release.