Recently, Aetna and UnitedHealthcare formed accountable care partnerships with several major medical groups in the state. Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) are focused on enhancing care coordination between doctors and others involved in patient care; improving patient experience and health outcomes for everyone in the plan; and lowering overall costs for care.
Last week, Aetna established an accountable care organization with Duke Health in Durham, and WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh. Aetna Whole Health-Duke Health & WakeMed will offer employers and individuals in 12 central North Carolina counties health care services “designed to improve quality, efficiency and the patient experience, and to control costs,” according to the press release announcing the agreement.
The ACO will foster collaboration between physicians at Duke Health and WakeMed hospitals and outpatient facilities. Duke Health includes Duke University Health System and Duke University Schools of Medicine and Nursing. WakeMed is a three-hospital system with nearly 8,500 employees. Aetna provides health plans to 550,000 people in North Carolina. The partnership also will include WakeMed Key Community Care, the system’s ACO that includes 370 primary-care providers and 750 specialty-care providers.
Earlier in the summer, UnitedHealthcare and Mission Health Partners (MHP), an ACO covering the western portion of the state, established a new network relationship giving people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare Medicare plans access to all MHP facilities and physicians. In 2017, the two organizations plan to launch an accountable care program dedicated to improving care coordination for patients by using shared technology, timely data and information about emergency room visits and hospital admissions.
UnitedHealthcare serves more than 180,000 Medicare Advantage members and nearly 1.3 million people in North Carolina in total, with a network of 140 hospitals and more than 28,000 physicians and other care providers statewide.
MHP is one of the largest ACOs in the country, covering 47,000 Medicare beneficiaries. MHP also covers 18,000 lives through the Mission Health employee benefits plan and some 8,200 patients attributed through Medicare Advantage plans. The plan currently is accountable for the cost and quality of care for roughly nine percent of western North Carolina.
“Mission Health Partners is an important provider of health care services, and this new relationship helps provide the foundation for collaboration which will help those in North Carolina receive quality, affordable care,” said Charles Russo, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement in North Carolina in a statement announcing the new partnership.