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  6.  | Physician Coalition Launches Accountable Care Organization for Alaska

Physician Coalition Launches Accountable Care Organization for Alaska

Apr 16, 2024 | Healthcare, News

Ckstockphoto | Envato

A coalition of independent Alaska physicians is launching an Accountable Care Organization (ACO), the first of its kind in Alaska designed exclusively by local physicians. Envoy Integrated Health says its ACO is focused on Medicare patients.

Coordinated Care

According to the Medicare website, ACO providers communicate with each other to help patients make healthcare decisions. By sharing electronic health records, they can reduce the amount of medical tests and paperwork.

“We are excited to pioneer the first ACO in Alaska that is entirely physician-driven,” says Dr. Gene Quinn, Envoy’s chief medical officer. “Our goal is to set a new standard for healthcare delivery in our state, one that prioritizes value, coordination, and patient-centered care. This initiative reflects our commitment to improving the health and well-being of all Alaskans.”

Envoy ACO touts the potential benefit of better value through preventive care and cost-effective treatment options. Coordinated care across various specialties is possible through improved communication. And patient-centered care prioritizes the needs and preferences of each patient, promoting shared decision-making.

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The introduction of this Medicare-focused program is in response to the rapidly growing population of Medicare patients in the state. According to the Alaska Commission on Aging, the senior population is the fastest growing demographic in the state. Alaskans older than age 60 now represent more than 20 percent of the state’s total population; this age cohort increased by 68 percent between April 2010 and July of 2022.

The Medicare website notes that ACOs are not any kind of insurance plan or health management organization. When providers form an ACO, Medicare administrators allow providers the opportunity to request patients’ medical information. (Medicare patients may opt out of information sharing, if they wish.) The ACO model was established in the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Envoy was founded by an array of medical practices, starting with the Alaska Heart and Vascular Institute, where Quinn works as a cardiologist. Other founders include Orthopedic Physicians Alaska, Internal Medicine Associates, LaTouche Pediatrics, Anchorage Fracture and Orthopedic Clinic, Anchorage and Valley Radiation Therapy Centers, and Alaska Digestive and Liver Disease.

As a clinically integrated network, these practices share infrastructure to coordinate patient care, yet all members remain independent practitioners. Member physicians collaborate around shared goals of providing quality care, improving overall population health, and shifting the healthcare system to prioritize value and quality rather than just quantity.

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