Hugh Chatham News & Notes

Marketing Program Press Kit: Information from Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital about Participating in an ACO

Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital became an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) participant on January 1, 2016. In an ACO, doctors agree to be accountable for the cost and quality of care of their primary care patients, helping them get the best care at the lowest cost, everywhere they go. Here is background information about what this means to your community healthcare system and how it can benefit you.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL RURAL ACCOUNTABLE CARE CONSORTIUM

Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital is participating in the National Rural ACO 3, LLC, a tri-state ACO with participants from North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

The National Rural ACO brings together independent rural health systems so they can participate in new programs that pay clinicians more for providing high-quality care and keeping their patients healthy. This innovative model enables small, rural facilities a cost-effective and practical way to participate in the ACO model, which will position the healthcare system for sustainability into the future.

The National Rural ACO’s participants include a diverse cross-section of healthcare providers across the country, including more than 6,000 clinicians in 159 rural communities across the country, serving more than 500,000 Medicare patients. To date, the majority of National Rural ACO participants have demonstrated reductions in per capita Medicare spending while improving quality and patient satisfaction. For more information, go to www.NationalRuralACO.com.

BENEFITS OF BECOMING AN ACO TO OUR COMMUNITY

  • Hugh Chatham will hire a Care Coordinator to actively support Medicare patients with multiple chronic diseases. He or she will work one-on-one with patients with complex medical conditions to create a personalized care plan, improve communication between all the care providers (even those working at a different facility or in a different town), and connect patients to the community resources they need. The Care Coordinator’s goal is to help patients get comprehensive care that addresses the needs of the whole patient, reduce duplicate testing and assist in transitions of care.
  • Because Hugh Chatham is participating in an Accountable Care Organization, Medicare will share more information about you with your doctor, including the history of all of your Medicare visits, regardless of where you were seen. The way things work today, your doctor only knows about the care you receive in his or her office, which is why tests often have to be repeated at different offices, and he or she may not know exactly what drugs you are taking or what other health problems you may have. Having a complete health record with information from all of your doctors will improve your overall care and reduce the amount of time you spend filling out paperwork or repeating medical tests. If you prefer, you always have the right to ask Medicare to not share your data, by calling 1-800-MEDICARE. You can change your mind about sharing your data at any time.
  • EVERYONE CAN CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THEIR CARE FROM ANY DOCTOR THEY CHOOSE. This program does not limit choices in any way. It simply provides more support from Hugh Chatham and Northern Hospital to improve the community’s health and well-being.

How The Community Can Help the ACO Succeed

  1. Annual Visits: Visit a physician for a regular check-up at least once a year. Tell them about all of your conditions and concerns, even if they appear minor. This way, your doctor can make sure you are getting all of your preventive care, and detect silent diseases like high blood pressure and coronary artery disease, before it becomes severe enough to cause a stroke or a heart attack. There is no charge to you for this important visit and it may save your life.
  2. Use the Care Coordinator: Navigating the healthcare system is difficult, sometimes. If you are having trouble managing your health, or need assistance coordinating your care, call us. We are here to help you.

What Changes Should the Community Expect to See?

Over time, if your doctor is participating in an ACO, you may notice some positive changes:

  • Better Communication: The health care providers that you see will know more about what is going on with your health because they communicate with each other.
  • Fewer Repeated Tests: You don’t have to have the same medical tests done over and over because your results are shared among your health care team.
  • More Emphasis on Keeping You Healthy: You are more likely to hear from your doctor’s office, reminding you to keep current with preventive care and following up with you if you have been in the hospital to make sure you are recovering as expected.

Here Are Things That Won’t Change Because Your Doctor is Part of an ACO

  • No Extra Cost: The cost of your coverage will not change because your doctor is in an Accountable Care Organization.
  • No Benefits Change: Your Medicare benefits remain the same.
  • Choose Any Provider: Your right to choose any hospital or doctor that accepts Medicare, at any time, will not change, even if that hospital or doctor is not part of an ACO.

How will you know if your doctor is in the ACO?

You may start to notice signs posted at your doctor’s office. If you aren’t sure if your healthcare provider is participating in the ACO, just ask.

Need More Information?

  • Visit www.cms.gov/ACO
  • For general information on ACOs, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.
  • Media Contact for facility: Cynthia Charles, Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital
    Phone: 336-527-7524, Email: CCharles@HughChatham.org

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ACOs

Courtesy of www.cms.gov/ACO

What is an ACO?

An ACO is a healthcare organization that has decided to become "accountable" for the quality and cost of the care it provides to patients. To increase quality and lower costs, Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital will implement new programs that improve care coordination for your community’s most vulnerable patients. According to Medicare, “the goal of coordinated care is to ensure that patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors.”

Why did my community health system join an ACO?

Many hospitals and physicians’ groups across the country are choosing to form ACOs to provide better-informed, more coordinated care to patients.* We are all concerned about rising healthcare costs and lack of coordination between health care providers. This is particularly difficult in rural communities where many patients may receive care from out-of-town specialists and urban hospitals, and communication between local and urban providers is often incomplete. Care coordination is an effective way to reduce costs and increase the quality of care, by preventing unnecessary admissions to the hospital and reducing unnecessary emergency department usage, paperwork and duplicated procedures, which ultimately help to prevent medical errors.

How ACOs Work

  • Local health care providers and hospitals volunteer to work together to provide you with coordinated care.
  • The doctors and other providers who are helping care for you will communicate with each other, and partner with you in making health care decisions.
  • You’ll likely have fewer repeated medical tests because your doctors and hospitals will share information and coordinate your care.
  • Unlike HMOs, managed care, or some insurance plans, an ACO can't tell you which health care providers to see and can't change your Medicare benefits.

How ACOs Share Information

  • Your doctors use data from Medicare to help improve how they provide care. For example, your doctors will get your medical information from Medicare to help them to know your medical history, including your medical conditions, prescriptions, and visits to the doctor.
  • Doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers working together in an ACO are able to share your medical records to help coordinate your care.
  • The privacy and security of your medical information is protected by federal law. You'll continue to get the same rights enjoyed by all people with Medicare.

When will this begin?

January 1, 2016

Media Contacts:

Cynthia Charles, Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital
Phone: 336-527-7524, Email: CCharles@HughChatham.org


LOGOS FOR WEBSITES AND PUBLICATION

These logos are authorized for use in printed or electronic publications.


National Rural Accountable Care Consortium
National Rural Accountable Care Consortium
National Rural Accountable Care Consortium

HELPFUL ACO RESOURCE LINKS

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) (www.cms.gov)

AARP

Kaiser Health News

AHRQ Policy Innovation Profile



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