What started four years ago with a meeting of representatives from five pioneering organizations sharing their experiences as fledgling Accountable Care Organizations, has matured into a collaborative group of more than 100 participants, demonstrating that North Carolina is fertile ground for serving patients through this value-based model of health care. The NC ACO Collaborative, spearheaded by the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS), has become so popular that its meeting last week had to be moved from the NCMS Center for Leadership in Medicine in Raleigh to a bigger venue in Cary to accommodate the crowd.
The list of attendees reads like a who’s who of major North Carolina health care thought leaders, including representatives of major health systems like Coastal Carolina Quality Alliance, Cornerstone Health Care/CHESS/Wake Forest Baptist Health, Wilmington Health/Physicians Healthcare Collaborative, Triad Healthcare Network/Cone Health, CaroMont Health, Duke University Health System, WakeMed Key Community Care, Mission Health in western North Carolina, New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, representatives from the Carolina Medical Home Network of FQHCs, Boice Willis Clinic as well as smaller practices throughout the state. Representatives from the NC Department of Health and Human Services, specialty medical societies, various community services organizations, the NC Hospital Association, the Health Care Center Association and Community Care of North Carolina also attended. Several consulting firms and vendors were present as well.
As is customary at each of the Collaborative’s quarterly meetings, one NC ACO shares its story. At the March 3 meeting, leaders of Coastal Plains Networks, part of Vidant Health, spoke about the successes and challenges experienced over its past year serving 29 counties in eastern North Carolina.
North Carolina Medicaid Director, Dave Richard spoke about the recently unveiled draft waiver application to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow the reforms mandated by the NC General Assembly last fall to be implemented. Richard gave a general overview of the priorities the department has set for the reform process, and what to expect in the coming months and years. He stressed that DHHS is genuinely seeking the input and help of the medical community to ensure success. [See related article in this issue of the Bulletin.]
The group also heard reports on the proposed new Medicare Shared Savings Benchmarking rules; an update on the state’s Next Gen ACOs; Triad Heathcare Networks’ experience with its Medicare Advantage product; and an update on the NCMS Foundation’s Rural ACO Initiative. Adrienne Mims, MD, of Alliant Health also spoke about using advanced directives to improve care coordination.
The next meeting of the NC ACO Collaborative will be held in conjunction with the M3, Merging Medicine and Management, Conference on Sept. 15, at the Grandover Resort and Hotel in Greensboro. For more information on the Collaborative or to become involved, contact Melanie Phelps at the NCMS.