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Two Ohio health systems to create new clinically integrated network


Two Ohio health systems will jointly contract for accountable care with health plans under a newly created clinically integrated network with broad geographic reach in the state.

Cincinnati-based Mercy Health, formerly Catholic Health Partners, and Akron-based Summa Health announced that each system's accountable care organization would join the new organization, Advanced Health Select. The Mercy Health Select ACO and Summa's NewHealth Collaborative ACO will also continue to operate in local markets independently.

The agreement is not the first between large regional health systems to broaden their contracting reach statewide. AscensionHealth and Trinity Health formed a clinically integrated network in 2014 that combined the systems' Michigan operations.

Mercy Health owns a minority stake in Summa Health through its subsidiary HealthSpan, which includes health plans. HealthSpan holds a 30.1% stake in Summa and has five of the Summa Health board's 16 governing board seats. HealthSpan also acquired Kaiser Permanente's Ohio health plan and medical group in October 2013. The acquisitions were part of Mercy Health's broader growth strategy, the system told investors in financial filings.

Executives said the new clinically integrated network will build on the ACOs' success in the Medicare Shared Savings Program and the health systems' combined $100 million investment in the last four years in data analytics, information technology and care coordination.

Mercy Health and Summa Health were among the first to join Medicare's accountable care initiative in 2012. Both reduced spending for Medicare patients enough in 2014 to earn bonus payments, which are a share of the amount ACOs save. The NewHealth Collaborative also earned a bonus during the first year. Last year, the first year for which quality scores were awarded, the NewHealth Collaborative scored an 89 and Mercy Health Select score an 86. The top performer last year scored 95 and the poorest performing ACO scored 64.

The two systems will invest another $30 million in the coming year in the ACOs and the newly formed clinical network, said Dr. Brent Asplin, president of Advanced Health Select and chief clinical officer for Mercy Health.

There is no timetable yet for when the network may contract with health insurers, but executives said the network will likely seek contracts for Medicare Advantage and with large employers.

Combined, the organizations can learn from one another and develop clinical protocols to improve quality, which may be attractive to Ohio's large employers as they contract for workers' health benefits, said Mark Terpylak, president of NewHealth Collaborative and a member of the new network's board of directors.

Terpylak also said the joint effort's larger scale will help organization take more financial risk under contracts to manage healthcare quality and cost.

Read Melanie Evan's post in Modern Healthcare here: http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20151125/NEWS/151129952/two-ohio-health-systems-to-create-new-clinically-integrated-network

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