Wis. sys­tems cre­ate al­liance, aim for ACO

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Bob Her­man

Six of the most prom­i­nent health­care sys­tems in Wis­con­sin have cre­ated a new part­ner­ship, jump­ing on the na­tion­wide band­wagon of form­ing strate­gic al­liances to share in­for­ma­tion while re­main­ing in­de­pen­dent.

The six sys­tems are: Aspirus in Wausau; Aurora Health Care in Mil­wau­kee; Bellin Health Sys­tems in Green Bay; Gun­der­sen Health Sys­tem in La Crosse; ThedaCare in Ap­ple­ton; and UW Health in Madi­son. To­gether, they com­prise 44 hos­pi­tals and more than 5,600 physi­cians, and pro­vide care to about 90% of the Bad­ger State’s pop­u­la­tion.

Matt Hey­wood, CEO of Aspirus, said in an in­ter­view that the ul­ti­mate goal of the non-eq­uity part­ner­ship is to mi­grate to­ward an ac­count­able care or­ga­ni­za­tion. The six health sys­tems have al­ready started of­fer­ing a com­mer­cial health plan with An­them Blue Cross, avail­able through the fed­eral and pri­vate-in­sur­ance ex­changes. If and when the col­lab­o­ra­tive be­comes an ACO, it will aim for in­clu­sion in more health plans as a low-cost, high-qual­ity provider net­work.

Data shar­ing will be another key el­e­ment of the re­la­tion­ship, officials said. Each sys­tem uses an Epic Sys­tems Corp. elec­tronic health-record sys­tem, which will make it eas­ier for pa­tients and doc­tors to ob­tain and share med­i­cal in­for­ma­tion, Hey­wood said.

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