Why Aledade: Q&A With Dr. Christine Meyer, Exton, Pa.

January 17, 2024

Christine Meyer, MD, internist and founder of Christine Meyer, MD and Associates, switched from another ACO to Aledade in 2020. Her privately owned practice in Exton, Pa., has a team of 18 clinicians, including 5 physicians, backed by 50+ administrative teammates, and serves a diverse patient population ranging from age 16 to 103.

How has being part of an Aledade ACO compared to your previous ACO experience? 

I’m not even sure we had a population health tool in our previous ACO. We worked with them for more than five years and received a very small shared savings check the very first year, and then never again. With Aledade, the support and population health tool are indispensable. Further, Aledade’s mission is clear, and we are all stakeholders: from us to our support staff, to Aledade, and most importantly, to our patients.

What tools, strategies or best practices have you adopted since joining Aledade that have had a significant impact on your organization’s success?

We have been able to completely revamp the level of access we provide to our patients in general, and specifically to our most in-need patients. During our work with Aledade, we have adopted such things as:

  • A “doc of the day” program for same-day, sick appointments
  • A walk-in hour for acute visits with no appointment required
  • A rapid access cell phone for our most vulnerable patients 
  • A full-time certified diabetes educator to work with diabetic and prediabetic patients
  • Someone dedicated to emergency department and hospital follow-up scheduling and outreach 
  • Care managers to remain in close contact with our most complex patients 

Most recently, we adopted a policy which encourages all patients to schedule their first visit of the year with a physician. We have made annual wellness visits (AWVs) a huge priority. We have spent a great deal of time educating our patients and support staff on the importance of AWVs in ensuring proper coding and the best outcomes for our complex patients.

How has earning shared savings enabled you to enhance patient access and care?

With the added revenue of shared savings from our participation with Aledade, we were able to obtain a cell phone that is purely dedicated to our sickest patients. This cell phone is manned by a person 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including nights, weekends and holidays. If a patient calls that phone, they are guaranteed to get a person. They will never have to leave a voicemail or get a callback. Staffing this can be extremely costly. This would not be feasible without our shared savings.

How has being a member of an Aledade ACO changed the way your practice approaches patient-centered care?

One huge advantage of participating in an Aledade ACO and earning shared savings has been that we are able to spend more time with our sickest patients. By reducing the number of patient visits per hour, our sickest and most complicated patients get comprehensive care with every visit. In pure fee-for-service models, reducing the number of patient visits per hour would have a tremendously negative impact on practice revenue and would not be sustainable for the long-term. Participating in the shared savings program with Aledade has helped our practice focus on caring for the whole patient, reducing fragmentation of care while also improving the quality of life of our clinicians.

What advice would you give to other practices considering joining Aledade and embracing the value-based care model?

First, I would say, do not be afraid. While any change in workflow and processes is daunting, value-based care is the way of the future. I would encourage any practice considering participating in an ACO to seek out one with excellent support tools. Lastly, I would tell practices to expect this work to be challenging at first. I would encourage them to speak with other practice leaders who have gone before them. Getting advice from those of us who have done this work for several years will make the road to ACO success much, much smoother.