Advocate Health Care says that early results in operating Medicare accountable care organizations have been promising but that progress has been achieved through failure, experimentation and adaptation.
"I cannot stress enough that it does take a long time," said Sharon Rudnick, vice president of outpatient enterprise care management for Advocate and its medical group, at the American College of Healthcare Executives annual meeting in Chicago this week. Now, with more than three years of experience, Advocate's strategy continues to evolve. "Just get used to reevaluating it and changing it every year,” she advised.
Advocate was among more than 100 organizations to sign Medicare's first Shared Savings Program contract in 2012. The program was one of the cost control and quality improvement initiatives authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The contracts test the accountable care model, which offers financial incentives to hospitals and doctors for meeting cost and quality targets. One year earlier, the Downers Grove, Ill.-based health system had entered a private ACO contract with Blue Cross and Blue Shield Illinois.