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HBCBS, HackensackUMC announce new health care reform initiative

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HackensackUMC and HBCBS announce new health care reform initiative.
HackensackUMC and HBCBS announce new health care reform initiative. - (NJBIZ file)

New Jersey's latest patient-centered health care reform initiative was announced Tuesday between Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and an affiliate of Hackensack University Medical Center.

Horizon is partnering with the accountable care organization of the Hackensack-Physician Hospital Alliance in order to improve medical care and clinical outcomes for more than 16,000 Horizon members.

Under the ACO agreement, Horizon will provide care coordination payments to the ACO to take on additional accountability for improving health and the patient experience as well as controlling the cost of care for Horizon patients. The ACO and its physician practices – provided they meet certain health improvement, patient satisfaction and cost goals – have an opportunity to share in the financial savings with Horizon.

The Hackensack ACO already has a shared savings program with Medicare that has saved the federal government about $10 million so far by better coordinating the care patients receive and reducing excess hospital admissions.

Throughout New Jersey, ACOs are now being broadened beyond Medicare and are enrolling commercial insurance plan members in the enhanced patient-care program that ACOs were created to foster. Horizon has launched ACOs with JFK Medical Center, Lourdes Health System, Barnabas Health, Partners In Care and Summit Medical Group, among others.

This new ACO collaboration between Hackensack and Horizon will include more than 450 primary care doctors in Bergen County.

"This ACO reflects Horizon's continuing commitment to collaborate with providers to deliver better quality care at lower cost," said Jim Albano, vice president of Network Management and Horizon Healthcare Innovations at Horizon.

ACOs strive for measured patient quality outcomes and to decrease unnecessary and duplicate medical tests and treatments.

"As the nation focuses its attention on providing efficient, accountable care, HackensackUMC is proud to collaborate with New Jersey's largest health insurer. Working together, we can improve the quality of care delivered to thousands of patients by coordinating care and controlling costs," said Dr. Morey Menacker, president of Hackensack Alliance ACO.

Horizon, which has 3.7 million members in New Jersey, has been developing a number of innovative, patient centered programs in the last few years, including patient centered medical homes. It now has more than 500,000 of its members in these programs.

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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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