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Lourdes health system launches ACO with HBCBS aimed to improve care, patient outcomes

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Southern New Jersey's Lourdes health system has launched an accountable care organization with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey aimed at improving care and patient outcomes for over 17,000 Horizon members.

About 90 primary care doctors in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Mercer counties are participating in the new collaborative patient-centered ACO, which launched Jan. 1.

"Our new collaboration with Lourdes is another vital step toward transforming how patient care is delivered in New Jersey with an eye toward stronger care coordination, a better patient experience, and lower cost of care for Horizon members," said Jim Albano, vice president of network management and Horizon Healthcare Innovations.

More than three years ago, Horizon began partnering with doctors to launch patient-centered programs that compensate the doctors for delivering coordinated care. The goals are to improve the quality of care while also reining in what most experts believe is an unsustainable rise in U.S. healthcare spending. Horizon's programs have expanded to the point that they now serve about 500,000 of Horizon's 3.7 million members, with a steady stream of new programs in the pipeline.

"We are extremely pleased to be developing this innovative model of service with Horizon, who share our vision for providing high quality, high-value care to the Southern New Jersey community," said Alexander J. Hatala, chief executive of Lourdes Health System and the LHS Health Network.

According to Horizon, ACO physicians help create a healthier patient population through a coordinated, accountable approach to care among providers within the ACO. ACOs are designed to achieve measured patient quality outcomes and decrease unnecessary and duplicative medical tests and treatments.

Horizon will make care coordination payments to the ACO to take on additional accountability for patient health and the quality of the patient experience, as well as controlling the cost of care for its Horizon patients. The ACO and its affiliated practices, provided the ACO meets certain health improvement, patient satisfaction and cost goals, have an opportunity to share in the resulting financial savings with Horizon.

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Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald reports on health care, small business and higher education. She joined NJBIZ in 2008 after a 34-year career at the Star-Ledger and has been reporting on business in New Jersey since 1978. Her email is beth@njbiz.com and she is @bethfitzgerald8 on Twitter.

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