Tucson (Ariz.) Medical Center and local physicians have assembled the pieces to build an accountable care organization in southern Arizona through a partnership with Optum, UnitedHealth Group's health information technology services company.
Tucson hospital, docs forming ACO
On Thursday, the hospital and Optum announced they are creating a “sustainable health community” based on the ACO model, in which hospitals, physicians and employers and residents in a community share both the risks and rewards of coordinated healthcare delivery.
During an interview with Modern Healthcare in Washington, Tucson Medical Center President and CEO Judy Rich said Optum—formerly Ingenix—has the necessary tools to analyze and consult on the health of patient populations. The partnership is designed around the Southern Arizona Accountable Care Organization, which includes Tucson Medical Center and independent physicians in the community to coordinate care delivery and participate in shared savings; and a managed-services organization to provide the infrastructure support for the SAACO.
Rich said Tucson Medical Center has already submitted a letter of intent for the Pioneer ACO Model, which the CMS designed to attract ACO-ready entities into the Medicare program more quickly.
“It's a great opportunity if we can assure ourselves that we have a ready ACO to take on the risk, to manage the patients quickly and efficiently, and to really benefit from the upside,” Rich said. “With or without the Pioneer model, we will be ready to go on the first of January 2012.”
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