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Atlantic Health System, UnitedHealthcare launch new ACO partnership

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    David Schulkin, president of the Atlantic Accountable Care Organization.
    David Schulkin, president of the Atlantic Accountable Care Organization. - (AARON HOUSTON)

    The accountable care organization movement is continuing to gain traction in New Jersey.

    This week, the ACO of Atlantic Health System, whose hospitals include Morristown and Overlook Medical Centers, and the health insurer UnitedHealthcare announced an ACO partnership that will seek to provide coordinated health care that improves quality and reduces costs for New Jersey residents enrolled in UnitedHealthcare's employer-sponsored health plans.

    Atlantic ACO, a subsidiary of Atlantic Health System, has more than 1,700 primary care physicians and specialists who coordinate care and are accountable for quality, cost and patient satisfaction. The Atlantic ACO started out working with Medicare to improve the care delivered to Medicare patients and has since been expanding into ACO partnerships with commercial insurers.

    The new ACO with UnitedHealthcare will launch June 1 and aims to help shift the New Jersey health care system based on volume of care to one that rewards quality and value. Atlantic ACO and its physicians will manage all aspects of patients' care with the goal of providing the right care in the right place at the right time.

    "Atlantic ACO is pleased to join with UnitedHealthcare on a model that will enhance health services and improve coordination of care for patients," said Dr. David Shulkin, president, Atlantic ACO and Morristown Medical Center, and vice president of Atlantic Health System. "We have had great success in improving wellness and managing costs for the more than 120,000 people enrolled in our ACO and look forward to expanding to include UnitedHealthcare employer-sponsored health plan participants."

    And this is UnitedHealthcare's first ACO in New Jersey.

    "Atlantic ACO is a leader in accountable care in New Jersey with extensive experience in coordinating quality care that leads to better health outcomes for patients," said Michael McGuire, president & CEO, UnitedHealthcare of New York and New Jersey. "We believe our ACO partnership will deliver enhanced quality and efficient care for our health plan customers in New Jersey."

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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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