BERLIN – Atlantic General Hospital has joined Beebe Healthcare to participate in a program designed to increase collaboration among local physicians.
Atlantic General Hospital has been invited by Beebe Healthcare to take part in the Delmarva Health Network, a Medicare Shared Savings Program Accountable Care Organization (ACO).
“It’s an opportunity for us to collaborate more and coordinate care better,” said Michael Franklin, president and CEO of Atlantic General Hospital (AGH).
By participating in the Delmarva Health Network, which was started by Beebe last year, AGH’s 10 primary care physicians will join 29 others already taking part.
“That the leadership at Atlantic General has decided to join the network tells us that we’re on to something very positive and powerful,” said Jeffrey M. Fried, president and CEO of Beebe Healthcare. “This is an exciting partnership between two high-quality health systems.”
According to Franklin, ACOs like the Delmarva Health Network have been popping up throughout the country since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. The idea behind the ACOs is to improve patient health and reduce costs by avoiding a duplication of services and preventing errors.
“Overall it’s to encourage physicians to work together, to give safe harbor for physicians and hospitals to work together to reduce the cost of care,” said Franklin.
What the Delmarva Health Network — the only ACO on the Eastern Shore — means for patients is that their doctors will be coordinating and collaborating with each other. Physicians will have more resources at their disposal and patients will receive even more individual attention.
“Every part of this is a positive for the patients,” Franklin said. “It’s engaging their physicians to use more people to help these patients.”
Once AGH officially begins participating in the Delmarva Health Network at the beginning of 2015, the 17,000 Medicare beneficiaries served by AGH and Beebe physicians will have access to coordinated care.
“For patients it means that the primary care physicians are more focused on team-based care for managing chronic illnesses,” Franklin said. “More resources are being focused on the patient.”