Essentia Health Achieves Top Grade in ACO Accreditation
Web posted October 15, 2013
Essentia Health is one of the first two organizations in the country to receive the highest level of accreditation as an Accountable Care Organization (ACO).
Essentia Heath and HealthPartners have received a level 3 designation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), which accredits and certifies a wide range of healthcare organizations. In February 2013, Essentia was accredited by NCQA as a level 2 ACO. Then, Essentia applied for the highest grade – a level 3 accreditation – and recently earned this prestigious designation.
"At Essentia Health, our mission is to make a healthy difference in people's lives," says John Smylie, Chief Operating Officer at Essentia Health. "ACO accreditation at the highest level by NCQA assures our patients, communities and insurers that Essentia holds itself to the highest standards of healthcare service, quality and affordability.”
NCQA’s rigorous review, which assesses organizations’ ability to coordinate and deliver the care expected of ACOs, ensures that Essentia:
• Protects patient rights, including privacy
• Offers health care that’s accessible
• Has a solid foundation of patient-centered primary care
• Uses care coordination to manage populations of patients
• Monitors practice patterns and uses performance data to improve quality
“ACO accreditation shows that an organization is committed to efficiency and integration, and that patients are getting the care they need,” says NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “I commend Essentia Health and HealthPartners for delivering on the promise of better care in all these dimensions.”
Smylie says Essentia is well positioned to demonstrate strong performance and significant improvement across healthcare’s Triple Aim: Better experience, better health and lower cost.
“Essentia’s integrated model of care utilizes patient-centered medical homes with care coordinators, all linked across the organization through a comprehensive electronic health record,” Smylie says. "Achieving level 3 accreditation was based on Essentia demonstrating quality improvements and collaborating with other regional organizations to improve care and quality for our patients."
ACOs coordinate doctors, hospitals and other health professionals to make sure people get all the care they need, while eliminating waste and inefficiency. Payments to ACOs reward quality and efficiency rather than the volume of services.
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