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Maryland Company Partnering With Kansas Doctors To Form ACO

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Bryan Thompson
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Dr. Jennifer Brull, in her clinic in Plainville, Kansas

A new partnership hopes to reduce the cost of caring for Kansans on Medicare by keeping them healthier—and to share in the savings that result. Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson explains.

A Maryland-based company called Aledade is partnering with several private practice physicians in Kansas to create what’s called an Accountable Care Organization. Dr. Jennifer Brull, of Plainville, has signed on as the medical director for the new ACO, called Aledade Kansas. She says, unlike the old HMO model from the 1990’s, the ACO won’t be able to save money by denying patients the care they need, because Medicare will be closely monitoring the quality of care the doctors deliver.

“I don’t get money by just stopping to do everything in my patients, because the quality of care would go way down. What I do get money for is by saving money over the period of a year for the government, and then they will share that savings back to me.”

Brull says the savings will come from helping patients stay healthier, and avoid costly hospital and emergency room visits. Nationwide, ACOs have been able to cut 5.6 per cent from the cost of caring for Medicare patients. That adds up pretty quickly when you consider that the government spends $10,000 a year caring for the average patient on Medicare.

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