Advocate Aurora Health saves taxpayers $79.6 million while improving patient outcomes
The latest data from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services show that Advocate Aurora Health's three Accountable Care Organizations saved taxpayers $79.6 million through the Medicare Shared Savings Program in 2021, meeting benchmarks for quality care while lowering costs.
The ACOs have saved taxpayers a total of $494 million since entering MSSP in 2012, with the latest results once again putting Advocate Aurora among the top-performing integrated health systems in the country. The latest results come amid the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, when providers have had to work harder to help patients keep up with ongoing care.
Ensuring patients get the screenings they need and have the tools necessary to manage chronic conditions is critical to keeping them healthy and out of the hospital. Doing so is part of Advocate Aurora's unwavering commitment to value-based care, lowering costs for patients and other payers while providing the highest quality care possible.
Now, building on success in MSSP, Advocate Aurora Health is one of just a handful of health systems across the country recently accepted into the ACO REACH program, which starts Jan. 1. This program focuses on equity and ensuring high-quality care is delivered to communities that traditionally have lacked access.
"Value-based care is the future of our industry, and our success in this program over the last nine years shows that we are leading the way thanks to the expertise and commitment of our talented physicians and care teams," Advocate Aurora Health CEO Jim Skogsbergh said. "Most importantly, these results reflect that our patients are receiving safe, high-quality care while advancing affordability. Our results put hard numbers on what we know to be true: We help people live well."
ACO providers led the way by encouraging annual wellness visits, which were especially important for helping patients stay current with important screenings and manage their chronic diseases, a challenge nationwide during the pandemic. In addition, the system used remote monitoring and virtual visits to stay in touch with patients and manage their care, including the use of automatic phone calls to help send important reminders.
"I couldn't be prouder of how our teams have stepped up to the challenge and worked together to improve outcomes for our patients while lowering the total cost of care," Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Stuck said. "They have put us on the leading edge of value-based care, and we're thankful for their work as we remain focused on delivering the best care for those we serve."
MSSP ACOs are offered financial incentives to both improve quality and reduce health spending. When an ACO - a group of doctors, hospitals and other providers that form networks to coordinate patient care - demonstrates that it has achieved certain quality and cost reduction benchmarks, it is rewarded with a share in the savings generated for Medicare.
Advocate Aurora's three ACOs combined received $41.6 million back from the program, savings that are re-invested in patient care.
Advocate Aurora's three affiliated ACOs span both the states it serves, with Advocate Physician Partners Accountable Care, Inc. managing 128,000 Medicare beneficiaries (one of the largest in the country) in Illinois and Accountable Care Organization of Aurora, LLC and Aurora Accountable Care Organization, LLC managing 76,000 and 5,300 Medicare beneficiaries, respectively, in Wisconsin.