Advocare Walgreens Well Network, Diagnostic Clinic Walgreens Well Network and Scott & White Walgreens Well Network have been selected as accountable care organizations (ACOs) in Medicare.


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Walgreens part of three new ACOs

January 11th, 2013

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Advocare Walgreens Well Network, Diagnostic Clinic Walgreens Well Network and Scott & White Walgreens Well Network have been selected as accountable care organizations (ACOs) in Medicare.

Walgreen Co. said the ACOs were three of 106 new ACOs in Medicare announced Thursday by Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Service areas for the three ACOs are New Jersey for the Advocare Walgreens Well Network, Florida for the Diagnostic Clinic Walgreens Well Network and Texas for the Scott & White Walgreens Well Network, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Jeffrey Kang, senior vice president of pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions at Walgreens, is listed as the ACO executive for each of those ACOs.

ACOs are groups of doctors and other health care providers that coordinate care and take responsibility for the cost and quality of care for a specific population of patients.

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, more than 250 ACOs have been established. Beneficiaries using ACOs can pick doctors inside or outside the ACO. ACOs share with Medicare any savings generated from lowering the growth in health care costs.

"Accountable care organizations save money for Medicare and deliver higher-quality care to people with Medicare," Sebelius said in a statement. "Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more doctors and hospitals are working together to give people with Medicare the high-quality care they expect and deserve."

ACOs must meet quality standards to ensure that savings are achieved through improving care coordination and providing care that is appropriate, safe and timely. CMS has set 33 quality measures on care coordination and patient safety, proper use of preventive health services, improved care for at-risk populations, and patient and caregiver experience of care.

Federal savings from this initiative are projected to be as much as $940 million over four years.

The new ACOs include a cross-section of physician practices nationwide. About half of all ACOs are doctor-led organizations that serve fewer than 10,000 beneficiaries. Roughly 20% of ACOs include community health centers, rural health centers and critical access hospitals that serve low-income and rural communities.

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