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Lifespan, United team up to coordinate health care

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 27, 2013 at 8:21 am •  Published: February 27, 2013

The idea behind the ACO program, which is administered by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is to increase communication and coordination among health providers of all types — from primary care doctors and hospitals to long-term care facilities — to boost the quality of care for Medicare patients. If the organizations save money while meeting a long list of standards, they share in the savings with Medicare.

Babineau called the Lifespan-United partnership a "next-generation" ACO and said it should help address fragmented care — where patients are handed off from doctor to doctor, or hospital to hospital — and improve sometimes "dysfunctional" communication.

Neither Lifespan nor United offered an estimate for how much savings the partnership might produce.

"If we can quantify savings, we want to share those savings with Lifespan so they can invest it back into their infrastructure redesign to continue this work," said Farrell.

Babineau said Lifespan is still working out how any savings would be shared among physicians and the health system.

"This is going to be a learning experience," he said. "On Day One we're not going to have all the answers, but we're going to approach the problem in a new way."