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MORRISTOWN, NJ DECEMBER 9, 2010 – Atlantic Health today announced it has formed an accountable care organization, a patient care and business structure that aims to raise patient care quality, reduce costs, and streamline health care delivery. Accountable care organizations are considered by many to be essential to the realization of national health care reform and are part of an overall vision of better and more affordable care for patients and heightened efficiency among physicians, hospitals, and insurers.
The ACO concept was originally designed to improve and integrate health care delivery and costs for Medicare patients. A group of health care organizations – such as hospitals, physician practices and insurance plans – define a service area and collaborate to find ways to improve quality, lower the individual and societal cost of care and find more efficient methods of sharing data for that particular population. That is, the ACO becomes “accountable” for that population.
ACOs benefit patients in myriad ways, including giving them a more significant role in guiding their own care, reducing duplicative tests, and offering greater incentives for disease prevention. Atlantic Health’s newly formed ACO will serve a seven-county area in New Jersey with the goal of improving health care for the residents of those communities through increased emphasis on prevention, continually improved treatment options for better outcomes, broader physician access, and improved coordination of insurance coverage that will all ultimately promote wellness.
“With more than 300 participating physicians thus far, we are confident our ACO will continue to grow and position Atlantic Health as a leader in this new and exciting care model,” said Joseph Trunfio, president and chief executive officer of Atlantic Health. “Atlantic Health will be working with physician groups in our service area to shape the details for the goals and governance of the ACO and to develop specific strategies.”
Atlantic Health has already begun to explore new methods of improving quality and controlling costs by participating in the Medicare Gainsharing trial, which encourages physician and hospital collaboration to make patients’ hospital stays more efficient. The new ACO is another way for Atlantic Health to drive efforts to improve health care delivery in our region.
Said Trunfio, “We take pride in always being on the forefront of clinical care and now, as health care reform re-shapes the landscape, Atlantic Health is, again, taking a leadership role by planning for the future and establishing this ACO.”
Atlantic Health expects the new accountable care organization to be ready to work with various populations, including Medicare patients, by January 2012.
About Atlantic Health
Atlantic Health is one of the largest non-profit health care systems in New Jersey and includes Overlook Hospital in Summit and Morristown Memorial. The two hospitals have a combined total of 1,197 licensed beds and more than 2,500 affiliated physicians providing a wide array of health care services to the five million residents of 11 Northern and Central New Jersey counties. Specialty services include cardiovascular care, neurosciences, pediatrics, cancer care; orthopedics, diabetes care, gastroenterology, trauma and emergency medicine, behavioral health, minimally invasive surgery, radiology and advanced diagnostics, women’s health and maternal fetal medicine, home and hospice care and rehabilitation services. Atlantic Health is a Major Clinical Research Affiliate with The Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Atlantic Health’s hospitals are accredited by The Joint Commission. Atlantic Health is the primary academic and clinical affiliate in New Jersey of Mount Sinai School of Medicine and The Mount Sinai Hospital.
Atlantic Health has been chosen for the past two consecutive years by FORTUNE® as one of the magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For®.” Atlantic Health has also been recognized four times by AARP as one of the organization’s Best Employers for Workers over 50.
Atlantic Health was recently named among the top 250 innovative business technology organizations throughout the country by InformationWeek magazine, in its annual InformationWeek 500 ranking, and one of Health Care’s Most Wired organizations of 2010 by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine, the journal of the American Hospital Association.