Dr. Joseph Stubbs, an Albany physician, says the Accountable Care Coalition of South Georgia is one of 106 organizations of its type in the United States. (Jan. 19, 2013)
ALBANY -- Based on the idea that they can improve patient satisfaction and decrease the cost of Medicare services, four physicians' group have recently formed Accountable Care Coalition of South Georgia.
According to Joseph Stubbs, a physician with Albany Internal Medicine, the coalition is technically a Medicare Shared Savings Program, one of 106 such organizations nationwide, born of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and designed to provide demonstrably better patient care, improve health and lower costs per capita.
Assuming such programs can demonstrate to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services they have attained established quality and improved health standards, the organization will retroactively receive a portion of any cost savings realized. ACC and other similar groups charge nothing additional to Medicare patients and receive no compensation from CMS if standards aren't reached or if savings aren't realized.
Member groups of Accountable Care Coalition are Albany Internal Medicine, Southwest Georgia Nephrology PC, Albany, Medical Associates PC of Albany and Stevens Health Services PC of Cordele.
ACC is in partnership with Collaborative Health Systems, a Houston-based company specializing in medical coordination, analytics and risk management. According to Chuck Trinchitella, the company's senior vice president of business development, CHS assists participating medical personnel in areas such as account establishment, engaging patients, care coordination and compliance with federal and state regulations.
"The Medicare Shared Savings Program allows physicians from a variety of specialties and other medical services, including nursing homes and hospitals, to work together to improve quality of care, improve health and lower costs," Stubbs said. "It's designed to do all of this without disrupting any part of the doctor/patient relationship. If a patient wants to seek a specialist outside our group, that's perfectly fine."
If all goes as planned, techniques such as enhanced record-keeping, surveys and improved communication with patients and outside caregivers should result in the reduction of patient paperwork, elimination of redundant medical tests and improvement in patient participation. Because CMS keeps full records on every Medicare participant, the hope is that increased coordination will decrease dollar outlays for Medicare and produce healthier patients.
"As an example, annual physical examinations are very important. So much can be discovered." Trinchitella said. "CMS will have a list of patients who are late for their exam, and care coordinators, primary physicians and specialists will share that information."