ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Thanks to teamwork among a group of Michigan physician organizations, approximately 40,000 Medicare participants across the state received better care in 2019, even though their care cost tens of millions of dollars less than predicted, according to new data just released by the federal government.
In fact, the Medicare system saved $53.8 million on the care of those Michiganders in 2019, while the quality of that care surpassed high standards laid out by the government.
The data, released by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, show the results of a concerted effort by nearly 4,500 physicians and other providers who take part in the statewide Physician Organization of Michigan Accountable Care Organization, LLC (POM ACO).
This is the third year in a row that POM ACO has earned back a portion of the funds it saved CMS. POM ACO is one of the few ACOs to have such a long track record of both savings and high quality of care every year under programs created through the Affordable Care Act.
“We are proud to report significant savings in 2019, which continues our strong track record of saving CMS nearly $200 million of taxpayer’s dollars during the life of our ACO and sharing in those savings the last three years,” said David Serlin, M.D., POM ACO’s medical director and an associate professor and associate chair for clinical programs in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. “This year our quality performance improved significantly as well to nearly 94%, demonstrating our focused commitment to providing our patients with the highest quality of care.
“From my perspective as a physician at Michigan Medicine, it is important we place the best interests of the patient at the center of what we do as an ACO,” Serlin adds. “We have a strong and committed group of participating health care organizations doing just that, working together to identify best practices to provide better value to their patients, while continuously identifying ways to improve the quality of care. We look forward to continued success as an ACO, collaborating together with CMS and our partner organizations within POM ACO to serve as a model to transform health care delivery for a healthy Michigan.”
POM ACO providers, who serve patients from all Michigan counties, will share a portion of the savings that they achieved for the Medicare system. Much of the money will be invested in improvements aimed at continuing to move the needle on care quality and cost.
“The POM ACO provider network and affiliated provider organizations have a proven ability to deliver high quality care that is very cost efficient,” says Tim Peterson, M.D., M.B.A., POM ACO Physician Executive and Population Health Executive at Michigan Medicine. “We are proud of our partnership with Medicare and look forward to continuing to pursue POM ACO’s ambitious vision of transforming healthcare delivery through our commitment to patients, community, collaboration, innovation, quality, integrity, value and leadership.”
“As a collaborative member of POM ACO, we have been fortunate to have the opportunity to work closely with other POM ACO provider organizations from Michigan," said Jenifer Hughes, executive director of Oakland Southfield Physicians, one of POM ACO’s participating physician groups. "Having the opportunity to share important learnings across the ACO with trusted colleagues allows us to think about our work, both as an individual provider organization and collectively in partnership with others, from different perspectives and identify creative solutions."
In 2019, POM ACO members focused on the transition between hospitals and nursing homes or other skilled nursing facilities, and in the number of days spent in both types of facilities. By partnering with the facilities where its participating beneficiaries tend to receive care, POM ACO members continue to find opportunities to improve care and reduce costs.
Each provider receives detailed information about his or her performance on quality measures, and practices and groups share best practices and innovations with one another. This allows them to coordinate the care that Medicare beneficiaries receive from different primary care and specialty providers, and to prevent health issues and repeat hospitalizations.
Launched in 2013 as a joint venture of U-M and six physician groups, POM ACO transitioned to the Pathways to Success program for 2019.
U-M, Oakland Southfield Physicians, MidMichigan Health and Wexford Crawford PHO continue their longstanding commitment to new models of care and partnership with providers around the state in the care of all people in Michigan.
POM ACO was one of 205 Pathways to Success ACOs in the U.S. 2019, and looks forward to significant growth in 2021 with new providers and new patients.
Learn more about POM ACO and its participating clinical locations at www.pom-aco.com