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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : features : features April 17, 2015


2/16/2013 9:58:00 PM
Yavapai Accountable Care aims to improve access for Medicare beneficiaries
The Daily Courier


Yavapai Accountable Care has been selected as one of the 106 new Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) in Medicare, ensuring as many as four million Medicare beneficiaries across the United States have access to high-quality, coordinated care, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently announced.

Doctors and healthcare providers can establish Accountable Care Organizations in order to work together to provide higher-quality care to their patients. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, more than 250 Accountable Care Organizations have been established. Beneficiaries using ACOs always have the freedom to choose doctors inside or outside of the ACO. Accountable Care Organizations share with Medicare any savings generated from lowering the growth in healthcare costs, while meeting standards for quality of care, Sebelius said.

The new ACOs include a diverse cross-section of physician practices across the country. Roughly half of all ACOs are physician-led organizations that serve fewer than 10,000 beneficiaries.

"This is Medicare's first attempt to reduce the costs of the program without increasing patients' out-of-pocket expenses or reducing benefits," said Derron DeRouin, CEO of Yavapai Accountable Care.

He explained that Yavapai Accountable Care comprises "a group of doctors within the community who are now part of a team, working closely together to improve efficiency, access to care and quality of care. You should see better collaboration and communication between doctor and patient. At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to improve the health of individuals, to improve the overall health and wellness of the community, with a major focus on prevention," DeRouin said, adding 50 healthcare providers are involved in Yavapai Accountable Care.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website:

• If your doctor chooses to participate in an ACO, you will be notified by letter, written information provided to you when you see your doctor, a sign posted in a hospital or a conversation with your doctor the next time you see him or her;

• What you pay, your Medicare benefits, or the cost of your coverage should not increase;

• Your right to choose any hospital or doctor that accepts Medicare, at any time, will not change even if that hospital or doctor is not part of an ACO.

• You will continue to receive the same rights enjoyed by all people with Medicare; Medicare will share pertinent medical information with your doctor's ACO so that the ACO can keep up with your medical needs and track how well the ACO is doing to help keep you healthy and helping you get the right care;

• ACO healthcare providers are able to share information with each other, giving each a more complete picture of your health through their communication, thereby providing coordinated healthcare;

• The doctor's office may continue to recommend that you see particular doctors for your specific health needs, but it's always your choice about what doctors or hospitals you visit;

• You benefit because your doctor will be part of a better coordinated team;

• Each of your doctors will not only know about the health issues they've treated, they will have a more complete picture of your health through talking with your other doctors.

For more about ACOs, call 1-800-Medicare.




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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2013
Article comment by: Terri Rolston

I am so excited that Yavapai County has an ACO now. With YRMC being the most expensive hospital in the state and also owning several medical offices in prescott, I'm pleased to see that we have options with physicians dedicated to providing quality healthcare and really trying to keep healthcare cost down for medicare and private paying patients.

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: Jeremy Engdahl-Johnson

Is it possible that accountable care organizations (ACOs) will create an uptick in medical malpractice claims? http://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=6245

Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Article comment by: INFO PLEASE

How about either a list of the physicians already enrolled in Yavapai Accountable Care, or an indication of how and where to obtain same.



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