Sandra Van Trease, BJC group president and president, BJC ACO, speaks to patients about the benefit of this expanded focus, and the ability of the patient and physician to share data or have a conversation about care needs.
BJC HealthCare was one of 89 health care provider organizations from across the country chosen as an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). The announcement was made July 9, 2012, by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS began establishing ACOs in January 2012 to encourage groups of physicians, hospitals and other providers to coordinate health services for patients covered by Medicare and to share in savings obtained through high-quality, well-coordinated care.
BJC HealthCare was the first ACO in the St. Louis area. Health care information producer and publisher Becker's Hospital Review named BJC HealthCare ACO as one of the current Top 100 Accountable Care Organizations to Know.
It is one of the few ACOs that not only utilize home care as a service provider, but also place it within the ACO governing body. ACO News, a national news source on ACOs, highlighted the BJC HealthCare ACO in a February 2014 article about the expanded benefits of this placement. “Having BJC Home Care as an affiliate member of BJC, we’re able to leverage the resources BJC provides to help support in-home patient care beyond what’s reimbursable by Medicare,” said Erik Rasmussen, Program Manager, Accountable Care for BJC HealthCare.
How ACOs Started
In October 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized new rules under the Affordable Care Act to help doctors, hospitals and other health care providers better coordinate care for Medicare patients.
ACOs create incentives for health care providers to work together to treat patients across care settings -- including doctor’s offices, hospitals and long-term care facilities.
The Medicare Shared Savings Program rewards ACOs that lower health care costs while meeting standards of quality care. For 2012, CMS established 33 quality measures relating to care coordination and patient safety, appropriate use of preventive health services, improved care for at-risk populations, and patient and caregiver experience of care.