Newswise — DALLAS – Nov. 22, 2017 – The Southwestern Health Resources Accountable Care Network (ACN) has saved the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) more than $73 million over the past three years, including nearly $37.3 million in 2016, while maintaining a Quality Score over 95 percent, according to the latest figures. The savings rank the Southwestern Health Resources ACN No. 7 in the nation.

The Southwestern Health Resources ACN manages care for nearly 87,500 Medicare beneficiaries, more than any other Accountable Care Organization (ACO) in North Texas. This is part of a national initiative to reduce costs by coordinating and delivering better health care for Medicare patients. When an ACO exceeds quality and financial thresholds — demonstrating achievement of high-quality care and wiser spending of health care dollars — it is able to share in the savings generated for Medicare.

“These impressive figures demonstrate that our efforts to improve quality while reducing costs for CMS are both successful and sustainable,” said Dr. Mack Mitchell, Chief Medical Officer for the Southwestern Health Resources Physician Network and Accountable Care Network, and Interim Executive Vice President for Health System Affairs at UT Southwestern. “Our success provides further evidence that our efforts to coordinate care for patients combined with identifying opportunities for savings without sacrificing quality are on target.”

“We believe that our accomplishments result from our clinically integrated program and the ability to coordinate and manage care inside the high-performing network that is Southwestern Health Resources,” said Dr. Dan Varga, Senior Executive Officer of Southwestern Health’s Physician Network and Chief Clinical Officer and Senior Executive Vice President of Texas Health Resources. “We continue to be very proud of our successes in achieving a reduction in the cost of care while delivering better quality and outcomes. Ultimately, these results demonstrate how Southwestern Health Resources will benefit patients, health care providers, and the general public.”

As one of the participants in the CMS ACO program, the Southwestern Health Resources ACN has maintained a 95 percent or better Quality Score since launching in 2014 while saving:

  • More than $6 million in 2014, resulting in $2.9 million in shared savings;
  • Nearly $30 million in 2015, resulting in more than $14 million in shared savings;
  • More than $37 million in 2016, resulting in more than $17.4 million in shared savings.

During that period, quality scores improved 5 percent among established measures and 13 percent on preventive measures.

The ACO has been among the country’s top-performing programs since 2015.

“What further underscores the effectiveness of our model is that savings and quality ratings have continued to rise while both the network of people served and the quality measures have expanded. That speaks to the focus of our model,” said Danny Irland, Chief Financial Officer for the Southwestern Health Resources Accountable Care Network and Vice President for Market and Payer Relations for Southwestern Health Resources. “Successful Medicare ACOs are on the cutting edge of health care reform, and these latest results reveal how effective, necessary, and advantageous an integrated network of hospitals and doctors can be, both for patients and physicians.”

Additional Resources

Visit the Medicare Shared Savings Program News and Updates webpage to access the CMS press release and fact sheet to learn more about the program.

“We’ve proven that with the right analytics, data sharing through integrated electronic health records, population health services and high-performing, talented physicians, we can address many of the issues facing the health care system,” said Suresh Gunasekaran, Senior Executive Officer for the Population Health Services Company of Southwestern Health Resources, and Vice President and Chief of Operations for the UT Southwestern Health System. “Our data shows that our quality of care is higher and our cost of care is lower for patients managed by Southwestern Health physicians along with a network of Southwestern Health facilities.”

Originally created by UT Southwestern, the accountable care network includes UT Southwestern Medical Center faculty, Texas Health Physicians Group members, and independent community physicians. Formerly called the UT Southwestern Accountable Care Network (UTSACN), the Medicare accountable care organization was a Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP). These ACOs are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers that come together to provide coordinated high-quality care to their Medicare patients.

Southwestern Health Resources formed in 2016 by Texas Health Resources and UT Southwestern Medical Center, blending the strengths of both Texas Health and UT Southwestern from preventive care to the most advanced interventions to better serve North Texas residents. The integrated network builds on more than 50 years of collaboration between the two institutions to improve the health of North Texans. Southwestern Health is made up of a physician network, hospital network, and population health services company, which provides clinical and quality data along with analytic services necessary to support the physician and hospital networks.

Southwestern Health network consists of 31 hospital locations, as well as an expansive network of physicians to provide higher value and easier access to all levels of care, from primary care to emerging therapies using the latest scientific discoveries. The network serves more than 7 million people across 16 counties in North Texas. In total, Southwestern Health ACN coordinates care for 300,000 lives, including the 87,500 Medicare beneficiaries.

“High-performing networks like Southwestern Health are about creating efficiencies and quality enhancements that ultimately improve outcomes and help control costs,” said Marinan Williams, Senior Executive Officer, Market and Payer Relations for Southwestern Health Resources.