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CHA ACO, LLC improves care for Medicare patients, saves Medicare $4.9 million

Operated by Beacon Health System, CHA Accountable Care Organization (ACO), LLC improved care for nearly 14,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Indiana and Southwest Michigan last year, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In doing so, it also saved Medicare more than $4.9 million in 2019, earning the South Bend-based ACO a $3.4 million shared savings bonus. As part of the Medicare Shared Savings Program, accountable care organizations that meet quality and cost goals are authorized to receive a portion of the savings they produce for Medicare beneficiaries.

“When providers work together through an ACO to focus on patients and invest in care coordination and other care improvements, they can both increase quality and reduce costs,” said Diane Maas, Beacon’s chief strategy and growth officer. “ACOs like ours are measurably improving care and saving money while maintaining patient choice of Medicare providers.”

CHA ACO earned a quality score of 92.1 percent on performance measures ranging from preventive health checks to the use of computerized health records to preventing avoidable hospitalizations. Clinicians and providers share best practices to coordinate the care beneficiaries receive from different primary care and specialty providers and to prevent health issues and repeat hospitalizations. Maas said the ACO also focuses on ensuring smooth patient transitions from the hospital to home, or to a nursing home, if needed.

In 2019 CHA ACO included Memorial Hospital of South Bend, Elkhart General Hospital, Community Hospital of Bremen,

Beacon Medical Group, as well as Family Medicine of South Bend and many hospital-based providers who serve Indiana and Southwest Michigan. CHA ACO initially joined the Medicare Shared Savings Program in 2014.

“The Medicare ACO shared savings program is the largest value-based payment model in the country and a critical tool in moving the health system toward better value,” Maas said.

Nationally, 541 accountable care organizations participated in Medicare’s shared savings program in 2019. These organizations cared for 11 million beneficiaries and generated gross savings of $2.6 billion, based on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services methodology for setting financial benchmarks. After accounting for shared savings earned by ACOs, estimated net Medicare savings during this timeframe were $1.2 billion.