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Hunterdon Healthcare joins launch of patient-centered ACO

Monday August 26, 2013
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Hunterdon Healthcare Partners, Flemington, N.J., and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey have teamed up to launch a patient-centered Accountable Care Organization that will benefit more than 18,000 Horizon BCBSNJ members in Hunterdon, Somerset and Mercer counties.

Nineteen Hunterdon Healthcare Partners physicians’ offices will be part of the ACO.

Under this program, Horizon BCBSNJ provides participating practices with funding to support Population Care Coordinators on site at all practice locations. The PCCs are nurses who coordinate treatment and engage patients to take more control of their own health.

Since July 2012, Hunterdon Healthcare Partners and its 19 participating locations have participated in BCBSNJ’s patient-centered medical home program. Expansion to a patient-centered ACO will focus on increasing accountability for participating practices in delivering more comprehensive, integrated care to BCBSNJ members, according to a news release.

"Over the past year, Horizon BCBSNJ has successfully collaborated with Hunterdon Healthcare to improve quality outcomes and reduce unnecessary [ED] visits," Jim Albano, vice president of network management and Horizon Healthcare Innovations at BCBSNJ, said in the release. "Expanding this relationship as a patient-centered ACO adds more accountability to improve health outcomes, and maintains a team-based, coordinated approach to care."

In addition to improved coordination of care, all patient treatments will be tied to evidence-based standards for prevention and wellness. Participating practices will take on increased accountability for improving quality outcomes for BCBSNJ members, while reducing the total cost of their care, according to the release.

"Collaborating with Horizon BCBSNJ will help Hunterdon Healthcare deliver better care at a better price," Jeffrey Weinstein, executive director for Hunterdon Healthcare Partners. said in the release. "We think patients will see direct benefit from this approach. This not only supports our mission to deliver better access to primary care and specialist physicians, but will allow us to better provide integrated care to improve the health of our community." •

@Editor's note/to comment:LEARN MORE online at HunterdonHealthcare.org.