“Geographically, the service areas of the two systems are complementary, Doug Hawthorne, Texas Health Resources CEO, said in a news release announcing the agreement. “Given today's challenging health care environment, it makes sense for us to look for opportunities to optimize resources and work together to improve the health of our communities.”
Accountable care organizations, loosely defined, agree to manage medical care and spending and are eligible for financial incentives if quality performance and costs meet certain targets. The CMS recently released proposed rules for the 2012 launch of Medicare accountable care under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Separately, the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission proposed guidance for independent doctors and hospitals seeking to create accountable care networks without violating antitrust and fraud and abuse laws.
Watson said Texas Health and Methodist Health have yet to decide on whether to contract with Medicare as an accountable-care network. “It's too early to say,” he said. The partners have not yet determined a payment model, he said. The systems jointly sponsor a medical transportation company.