Oak Brook, Ill.— Building on its recognition as one of the nation’s largest and leading Accountable Care Organizations (ACO), Advocate Health Care’s chief medical officer met with Washington leaders in the West Wing of the White House on Friday to discuss ways to help improve health reform.
The trip came a day after Advocate was featured on the cover of the New York Times in an article titled, A Health Care Provider Strives to Keep Hospital Beds Empty. Lee Sacks, MD, Advocate’s executive vice president and chief medical officer, met with key administration officials at the White House including Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, Deputy Chief of Staff Mark Childress, Deputy Assistant to the President for Health Policy, Jeanne Lambrew, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator, Marilyn Tavenner.
The group discussed Advocate’s efforts to promote efficiency and quality in health care delivery and how its strategies are helping to reduce health care costs. Dr. Sacks also outlined key steps Washington leaders should consider to help foster better care coordination.
This isn’t the first time Advocate leaders have been called on by Washington to share insight and best-practices. Dr. Sacks met with members of the Senate Finance Committee in May 2012 to offer testimony about how Advocate’s highly successful clinical integration program—designed to drive improvement in health outcomes, care coordination and value—might serve as an example to other health systems who are establishing ACOs.
"For more than a decade, we have worked to evolve our clinical integration program—long before the Affordable Care Act existed," Sacks said. "We believe focusing on care coordination, prevention, early detection and education is critical to improving health outcomes and reducing costs. It also ensures our patients receive the right care, at the right time and at the right place."
In 2011, Advocate signed a landmark deal with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, the state’s largest health insurance company, with more than 7 million members, to launch a benchmark care delivery system,AdvocateCare, designed to drive enhanced collaboration among physicians, hospitals, payers and employers. A year later in the summer of 2012, Advocate was selected to participant in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP). As part of the program, Advocate works with CMS to provide Medicare fee-for-service for approximately 120,000 beneficiaries with high quality care, while reducing their Medicare costs