An accountable care organization pilot in Northern California is showing positive results its first 10 months, according to the providers and payers involved.
The two-year pilot involves 41,000 members of the California Public Employees Retirement System, CalPERS, a large pension system.
CalPERS partnered with Blue Shield of California's HMO, Catholic Healthcare West and Hill Physicians Medical Group, of San Ramon, Calif., to improve quality and lower costs for these patients, who live in three Northern California counties including Sacramento.
Between January 2010 and October 2010, patient hospital readmissions declined by 17%; average patient length of inpatient stay was reduced by a half-day; total patient inpatient days fell by 14%; and number of patients who stayed in the hospital for 20 days or more was cut in half, according to CalPERS.
The pilot is expected to result in $15.5 million in savings, CalPERS said.
“We cannot overstate the importance of coordinated care, and we are encouraged about expanding this model to other areas to share its benefits with more CalPERS members,” said Kathleen Billingsley, CalPERS health benefits assistant executive officer, in a news release. “Providing more cost-effective care and reducing or eliminating unnecessary care will improve overall care for every member.”