ThedaCare Bellin Pioneer ACO Reduces Total Cost of Care by 4.6%

It is critical for the future of our country to begin to achieve breakthroughs on cost and quality of medical care delivery. This week, the federal government reported that there have been some breakthroughs with the Pioneer ACO program. In fact, The Bellin- ThedaCare Pioneer ACO was able to show a 4.6 % reduction in the total cost of care, year over year, for the first year of the pioneer program.

Imagine if every market in America could show similar results. A 40 billion dollar reduction on the 800 billion dollar Medicare spend would quickly remove us from the crisis.

What is the secret sauce in Northeastern Wisconsin? ThedaCare has been on the lean journey for over a decade. This has allowed them to reduce readmissions and streamline care more quickly than other organizations. This cost reduction was possible because quality has been improving at a rapid rate.  In February, Consumer Reports had reporting data from the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality which had shown that ThedaCare Physicians was number one in the state on an important set of physician quality performance measures.  

Of 20,000 Medicare beneficiaries cared for by The ThedaCare and Bellin ACO, more than 13,000 of them are cared for by ThedaCare Physicians. ThedaCare's partner, Bellin, cares for the rest.  Bellin has also been on a quality journey for many years. Although not necessarily utilizing the lean methodology  they have achieved a high level of quality performance.

What is remarkable here is that the ThedaCare Bellin program is also one of the lowest cost of the 32 pioneers to start with. This data has not been publicly released yet. The point being is that no matter how good an organization is, improvement is possible. There is a lot of improvement that must be made in American healthcare and The Bellin-ThedaCare Healthcare Partners give all of us hope that it is going to be possible.

Link to WSJ article

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