More partners join Medicare improvement effort launched by U-M Health System and IHA

Pioneer Accountable Care Organization expands to include Packard Health and Saline-based general internist

ANN ARBOR, Mich. A partnership designed to improve care for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries in southeast Michigan, while making the best use of Medicare dollars, has expanded.

Two new medical practices have joined the 1,700 doctors of the University of Michigan Health System’s Faculty Group Practice, and the 310 providers in the IHA physician group, in one of the nation’s first Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).

The new additions are members of Huron Valley Physicians Association. They are the four physicians who provide care at the two non-profit primary care locations of Packard Health, and Deborah Peery, M.D., a general internist in Saline, MI.

Originally founded in late 2011, the University of Michigan ACO is one of just 32 “Pioneer” ACOs in the country – approved by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as part of a broad effort to improve and better coordinate the care that patients receive.  More than 26,000 Medicare participants who live in Washtenaw, Livingston and Wayne counties are considered beneficiaries of the U-M Pioneer ACO.

The ACO concept, which brings together physicians, nurses, other health providers and hospitals to share information and work together, aims to get the right care to the right patient at the right time. It was first tested at U-M and nine other physician groups across the country as part of a Physician Group Demonstration project from 2005 to 2010.

In an ACO, patients get to keep their usual primary care physician, and see any provider who accepts Medicare. The ACO works with its member physicians to measure the quality of care they provide using specific goals, and to identify ways to improve that care.

For example, under the U-M Pioneer ACO patients with multiple health issues have access to care coordinators who can help them navigate their care between doctor visits. They can also get assistance from pharmacists and dietitians in their doctor’s offices, to sort out issues with multiple medications or food-related concerns.

“We are very glad to welcome the Packard Health physicians, led by Dr. Raymond Rion, and Dr. Peery to our ACO, and know they will help us continue to improve care for more Medicare beneficiaries than ever before,” says Pioneer ACO medical director Timothy Peterson, M.D., MBA, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the U-M Medical School.

Rion, who leads the Packard Health team that cares for insured and uninsured patients at two locations in Ann Arbor, MI, says, “We're delighted to be able to join two outstanding organizations like the University and IHA in the Pioneer ACO. At Packard Health we care for patients who are medically and socially complex in an integrated fashion with significant on-site support, and believe this is a very useful skill set to bring into the ACO.”

Says Peery, who has practiced in the small city of Saline for more than 25 years, “I am excited to be collaborating with the other healthcare providers involved in the Pioneer ACO in order to find better ways to care for our Medicare fee-for-service patients.”

For more information on the the University of Michigan Pioneer ACO, visit

For more information on the U-M Health System’s efforts to improve care and contain cost growth through population health strategies including ACOs, visit




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