Bellin-ThedaCare Health Partners are #1 in Improving Quality of Care and Reducing Costs of Care in CMS Pilot Program

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today issued quality and financial performance results for its two Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) programs, showing the ACOs have successfully improved the quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries by fostering greater collaboration between doctors, hospitals, and health care providers and keeping patients healthy rather than treating them only when they were sick. Bellin-ThedaCare HealthCare Partners ranked tops in quality in the Pioneer ACO Model program, while reducing healthcare costs.

"Bellin-ThedaCare Healthcare Partners' success in the Pioneer ACO model demonstrates our ability to control healthcare costs while also improving the quality of care," said Dave Krueger, MD, executive director and medical director for Bellin-ThedaCare Healthcare Partners. "The success we have achieved is due to our dedicated providers and staff working together to provide efficient and effective care for our patients."

CMS released the results for two programs created under the Affordable Care Act: the Medicare Shared Savings Program and the Pioneer ACO Model. Bellin-ThedaCare HealthCare Partners – a collaborative organization comprised of Bellin Health, ThedaCare and a network of 700 physicians – is in its second year in the Pioneer program, after being selected for the program in 2011. Through its participation, Bellin-ThedaCare HealthCare Partners is responsible for coordinating care for approximately 20,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Northeast Wisconsin.

Today’s report shows that Bellin-ThedaCare HealthCare Partners are #1 among the 23 Pioneer participants with a quality score of 94.11. Participants are judged by 33 factors measured by CMS.

George Kerwin, Bellin Health president and CEO, says the Pioneer Program rewards healthcare organizations based on three areas that have long been a focus at his organization. “Bellin focuses on determining how we can simultaneously provide high-quality care, manage cost and create a positive patient experience in the communities we serve,” said Kerwin. “We also work collaboratively with organizations in the state, the nation and abroad to better determine the best ways

to deliver on these three measures. Our partnership with the physicians and ThedaCare is a prime example of those collaborative efforts and our results in the Pioneer ACO program show we are making a difference for the people of this region.”

The organization accomplished its top quality ranking while decreasing cost. “In the second year of the Pioneer ACO program, we received a target of $8,451 per beneficiary – and we beat that mark by more than 2 percent. This resulted in more than $3.2 million in savings for CMS, and shows what can be done when we work together to find solutions that benefit our entire community,” said Dean Gruner, MD, president and CEO of ThedaCare.

Of the $3.2 million in savings generated, $2.2 million will be shared with the Northeast Wisconsin organization.  “Much of the shared savings will get reinvested in further improvement efforts,” said Gruner.

ACOs in the Pioneer ACO Model and Medicare Shared Savings Program generated over $372 million in total program savings for Medicare ACOs. The encouraging news comes from preliminary quality and financial results from the second year of performance for 23 Pioneer ACOs, and final results from the first year of performance for 220 Shared Savings Program ACOs. 

“We all have a stake in improving the quality of care we receive, while spending our dollars more wisely,” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said.  “It’s good for businesses, for our middle class, and for our country's global competitiveness.   That’s why at HHS we are committed to partnering across sectors to make progress."

Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, more than 360 Medicare ACOs have been established in 47 states, serving over 5.6 million Americans with Medicare. Medicare ACOs are groups of providers and suppliers of services that work together to coordinate care for the Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries they serve and achieve program goals.

About Bellin Health

Bellin Health, www.bellin.org, is an integrated healthcare delivery system based in Green Bay, Wis. It has serviced people in Northeast Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula since 1908. Bellin Health has more than 3,200 employees and is known for its emphasis on preventive healthcare and is the region’s leader in cardiac, orthopedics, sports medicine, digestive health, mental health, and primary care medicine. It is comprised of Bellin Hospital, Bellin Psychiatric Center, 31 Bellin Health primary care physician clinics, and several retail health clinics known as Bellin Health FastCare. Bellin also operates Bellin Health Partners, a physician-hospital organization with more than 200 specialty physician members, the Bellin Health Oconto Hospital, a critical care access hospital in Oconto, Bellin Fitness, and Bellin College.

For more information, media may contact Dana Bzdawka, team leader of public relations and communications for Bellin Health, at debzda@bellin.org or (920) 433-7811.

About ThedaCare



ThedaCare is a community health system consisting of seven hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, ThedaCare Medical Center-New London, Shawano Medical Center, Berlin Memorial Hospital, Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital and Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, and ThedaCare At Home. ThedaCare is one of the largest employers in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Bellin-ThedaCare Healthcare Partners

Bellin-ThedaCare Healthcare Partners is comprised of two hospital systems; a network of primary care providers including Bellin Health, ThedaCare, Primary Care Associates of Appleton, Kaukauna Clinic, Family Care of the Fox Cities, and Premier Health; and 300 affiliated specialist partners in Northeast Wisconsin