Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, Southern New Hampshire Health System Join Concord Hospital and Elliot Hospital ACO

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Published on March 19, 2014

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, Southern New Hampshire Health System Join Concord Hospital and Elliot Hospital in Accountable Care Organization

Two more New Hampshire health systems have joined Concord Hospital and Elliot Hospital in an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) that will help healthcare providers work together to improve care for people with traditional Medicare, while holding down costs.

Southern New Hampshire Health System in Nashua and Dover’s Wentworth-Douglass Hospital now are part of NH Accountable Care Partners, previously known as the Concord Elliot ACO. The expansion brings together nearly 1,000 healthcare providers and expects to serve more than 35,000 Medicare recipients.

“With four organizations participating in the ACO we have tremendous opportunities for shared learning to help us reorganize care delivery around patient’s needs,” said Dr. Gregory Baxter, NH Accountable Care Partners medical director.

Under the ACO collaboration, the organizations agree to be held accountable for the health of their Medicare Fee-For-Service beneficiaries attributed to the ACO. The ACO will identify beneficiaries with health risk factors early through evidence-based screening, and through improved care coordination and management of chronic conditions to reduce the need for unnecessary hospitalization and Emergency Department visits.

The goal is more satisfied patients, higher quality and lower cost care, with the member hospitals having the opportunity to share in any savings realized by the Medicare program.

"The ACO structure provides us with the means to work more closely with patients to improve their health and quality of life rather than just reacting to episodic acute illness," said Dr. David Green, NH Accountable Care Partners CEO.

Betsey Rhynhart, the ACO’s executive director, said beneficiaries attributed to Concord Elliot ACO have already benefited from their partnership, established in 2012.

She cites the example of a patient whose care changed dramatically after the patient began working with a key person within the ACO, a Nurse Navigator, a role some organizations might refer to as a Care Manager or Care Coordinator. They help patients navigate through the increasingly complex healthcare system with keen focus on building trusting relationships with each patient and their entire healthcare team.

The 77-year-old woman had 15 chronic conditions, was taking 17 medications and being treated by five specialists and her primary care physician. During the first nine months of last year, the patient was treated in the Emergency Department 16 times and admitted to the hospital twice. After a Nurse Navigator began checking on the patient and monitoring her condition, she visited her primary care physician nine times, with no Emergency Department visits or hospitalizations.

Expanding the size and reach of the ACO will enhance available resources to the hospitals, healthcare providers and most important to the Medicare Fee-For-Service beneficiaries that are served by the ACO.

“Working together creates great opportunities,” said Rhynhart, “It’s being able to learn from each other how to better help patients that are at risk, so we will be able to focus our resources and provide more effective care.”

To ensure that savings are achieved through improving and providing care that is appropriate, safe and timely, an ACO must meet strict quality standards. The government has established 33 quality measures regarding care coordination and patient safety, appropriate use of preventive health services, improved care for at-risk populations and the patient and caregiver experience.

About NH Accountable Care Partners
The Medicare Shared Savings Program – a component of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – promotes the development of Accountable Care Organizations to achieve the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Three Part Aim: improving the experience of care, improving the health of populations and reducing the cost of health care.

More than 35,000 Medicare Fee-for-Service beneficiaries in our region are now benefiting from NH Accountable Care Partners, an initiative designed to coordinate and improve their care while helping stem the rise in healthcare costs, through their relationship with Concord Hospital, Elliot Hospital, Southern New Hampshire Health System and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital providers.

Media Contact

Public Affairs
Concord Hospital
250 Pleasant St.
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 227-7000, ext. 4215