Seton Health Alliance Selected as Medicare "Pioneer Accountable Care Organization"
AUSTIN, Texas - (Dec. 19, 2011) - The Seton Healthcare Family has taken a major step toward developing a new model for delivering health care in Central Texas by partnering with Austin Regional Clinic (ARC) to create Seton Health Alliance, an Accountable Care Organization (ACO).
An Accountable Care Organization is a relatively new term that describes a system where healthcare providers-including primary care physicians, specialists, and hospitals-work together and accept collective responsibility for the cost and quality of care delivered to a population of patients.
The Seton Health Alliance ACO will be open to community physicians and other providers, and plans to expand its collaborators and programs over the next several years. The Alliance is one of 32 integrated health networks nationwide selected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to participate in the federal government's Pioneer ACO program.
"Creation of the Seton Heath Alliance is part of our plan to provide patients and payers with better value-efficient, appropriate and quality health care," said Charles J. Barnett, FACHE, president /CEO, Seton Healthcare Family. "Over its 30-year history, Austin Regional Clinic has had remarkable success as a multispecialty health care group focusing on quality comprehensive care. Through the Alliance, Seton will partner with ARC and other community physician groups to integrate primary and specialty care as well as other health services, to provide the right care in the right place at the right time."
Seton Health Alliance's goal will be to coordinate physician visits, hospital stays and services such as physical therapy, imaging and laboratory. The ACO and its physicians aim to take a more proactive approach through enhanced patient education, care reminders and support for patients transitioning home from the hospital. Patients will have a choice of physicians and will not be limited to a specific provider network.
"The Alliance's ACO model will aim to offer convenience and high levels of service consistent with Austin Regional Clinic's core approach to providing care," said Norman Chenven, MD, ARC CEO and Founder. "We want our patients to be active participants in their own treatment plans, guided by doctors and staff who listen and honor patient choices. The Alliance will offer enhanced coordinated care in Central Texas in an effort to improve the health of our entire community."
Initially, the Alliance will serve current Medicare patients of ARC and Seton's Community Health Centers-Topfer, Kozmetsky and McCarthy-but the network will be open to community physicians interested in participating in its programs.
Information for Medicare Patients
- Medicare patients whose providers participate in an ACO maintain all of their Medicare rights, including the right to choose any doctors and providers that accept Medicare. Patients who have Medicare coverage through a private Medicare Advantage insurance plan are not eligible to participate in an ACO. Patients with a Medicare supplement are eligible to participate.
- ACO physicians will use support staff and new systems to enhance communication about patients' health and coordinate care. The ACO will develop programs to enable patients, especially those with chronic conditions, to obtain the care they need.
Seton Health Alliance's service area includes an 11-county region in Central Texas, with 13 hospitals in seven cities including Austin, Round Rock, Kyle, Luling, Burnet and Smithville. It includes 21 primary and specialty care outpatient clinics in six cities, including Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Hutto, Pflugerville and Kyle.