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Updated: State's first Medicaid ACOs are approved

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(Editor's note: This report was updated at 3 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. with additional information.)

Three health care groups have gotten the OK from the state to form Medicaid accountable care organizations, according to news releases this week.

The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, the Trenton Health Team and the Healthy Greater Newark ACO, an organization affiliated with the Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition, will be the first Medicaid ACOs in New Jersey, when they start a three-year demonstration project to begin Wednesday. Each of the organizations will serve one of the state's largest cities.

“We believe that a high-quality, community-based ACO will deliver more effective, coordinated and compassionate care to Camden’s most vulnerable residents,” Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, founder and executive director of the Camden Coalition, said in a prepared statement. “For the last decade, the coalition has been a community organizer of health care providers, working in one of the most fragmented and challenging urban health care environments in the country. We’ve developed a strong network of great partners and compiled multiple years of patient-level data that will be a road map for the work ahead.

“The Camden Coalition Accountable Care Organization will show the benefits of rewarding our partners for working together to deliver the best possible care to the people of Camden.”

The ACOs were approved under legislation that established the pilot programs, allowing providers serving Medicaid beneficiaries, such as children, families, seniors and the disabled, to collaborate through the ACO.

“Trenton Health Team has been preparing for this initiative for several years, bringing together key community partners and developing the infrastructure and data capacity to manage the responsibility,” James Brownlee, the team's president, said in a statement. “As a public health professional, I especially value the emphasis on health at the community level that is built into the project design, which will ultimately lead to improved health outcomes for our citizens.”

Meanwhile, a news release from the QI Collaborative of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute indicated that the Healthy Greater Newark ACO would also be joining the demonstration project, the release said.

“We’d like to congratulate the Trenton Health Team, the Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition and the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers on acceptance into the state pilot program,” Jeff Brown, executive director of the QI Collaborative, said in a prepared statement. “... While three of our members were approved, we believe that all of the applicants to the program have proven they can be effective at improving quality and reducing costs via community-focused health care delivery models."

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