Written by Mat Kendall
Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) base their rewards on doing better: facilitating healthier outcomes for their patients and driving down costs further than they have before. But during a year of turmoil in which so many lives were lost, where practices were closing and patients who needed access to primary care did not have it, we weren’t thinking about shared savings.
Just as our member ACO physicians were focused on doing the right thing for their patients, we were focused on doing the right thing for our practices. We worked tirelessly to maintain the bond between practices and patients, help practices survive and make sure that patients were getting the care they needed.
In Louisiana, many patient lives were lost, one physician at a practice passed away unexpectedly and two hurricanes hit. Aledaders in Louisiana not only obtained necessary supplies for themselves and their loved ones, but shared supplies with their practices as well.
Florida physicians set up remote sites in parking lots to conduct annual wellness visits (AWVs) because of the unknowns surrounding telehealth. With Aledade’s help, practices across the country went from nearly 0 percent of patient encounters being done via telehealth in 2019 to nearly 40 percent in 2020. Seventy-two percent of patients in Aledade ACOs completed an AWV as compared to the historical national average of approximately 19 percent.
In California, practices serving diverse populations in a myriad of settings still achieved over $4.7 million in savings across their two ACOs in their first year.
In Arkansas, where nearly a dozen rural counties have limited access to primary care, an Aledade practice spent Saturdays serving as an AWV clinic and a COVID-19 testing site.
Aledade’s member ACO practices demonstrated flexibility, innovation and good old-fashioned grit in a year that demanded nothing less. And while practices were focused on doing good for their patients, something else happened: they also did better. In fact, we exceeded our own expectations, according to the final numbers released today by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
In 2020, 92 percent of Aledade Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) ACOs achieved savings, reducing the cost of care by 7.4 percent and saving Medicare $315 million. For their success and work in providing care to over 400,000 Medicare patients, Aledade practices will share in over $93 million.
At the same time, our multi-payer ACOs* also created savings - more than $146 million in total with over $50 million going to Aledade practices for quality care delivered to over 376,000 commercial, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid patients.
Nothing could have prepared us for the lessons of 2020, but what matters now is how we honor them moving forward. We know now that what we’re doing is working repeatedly across different geographies of this beautiful country of ours, even in the most challenging of circumstances. We simply need to trust the system and to do the work.
Thank you to all of our practices who placed their trust in us during these unprecedented times and our physicians for their unwavering commitment to provide the best care possible to their patients.
To Aledade nation, thank you for all of the support provided to practices; you have gone above and beyond to ensure their success.
Let’s do it again in 2021.
*Non-MSSP contracts. Pending payer reconciliation; assumes participation in all lines; includes shared savings, quality payments.