Healthcare Business News

Wisconsin health systems partner up, work for ACO

By Modern Healthcare
Posted: August 9, 2014 - 12:01 am ET

Six of the most prominent healthcare systems in Wisconsin have created a new partnership, jumping on the nationwide bandwagon of forming strategic alliances to share information while remaining independent.

The six systems are: Aspirus in Wausau; Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee; Bellin Health Systems in Green Bay; Gundersen Health System in La Crosse; ThedaCare in Appleton; and UW Health in Madison. Together, they comprise 44 hospitals and more than 5,600 physicians, and provide care to about 90% of the Badger State's population.

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Matt Heywood, CEO of Aspirus, said in an interview that the ultimate goal of the non-equity partnership is to migrate toward an accountable care organization. The six health systems have already started offering a commercial health plan with Anthem Blue Cross, available through the federal and private-insurance exchanges. If and when the collaborative becomes an ACO, it will aim for inclusion in more health plans as a low-cost, high-quality provider network.

Data sharing will be another key element of the relationship, officials said. Each system uses an Epic Systems Corp. electronic health-record system, which will make it easier for patients and doctors to obtain and share medical information, Heywood said. —Bob Herman

Follow Bob Herman on Twitter: @MHbherman

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