Texas ACO That Has Improved Mortality Rates on MA Patients Will Keep Its Model


A Texas-based primary care group that’s developed a unique model of taking care of Medicare Advantage (MA) patients through an ACO over the last 20 years wants to expand its patient base — but not necessarily venture into other markets beyond MA.

In particular, WellMed Medical Group in San Antonio has no plans to participate in Medicare’s Shared Savings Program, mainly because it wants to preserve its MA plan format for the ACO, Gary Piefer, M.D., M.S., a family physician and chief medical officer of WellMed Medical Management Inc., the managing partner of WellMed Medical Group, tells ABN. While “ACO” is a relatively new buzzword on the health care reform scene, WellMed says it’s been building an ACO of sorts for the past two decades that has improved outcomes for its MA population and reduced costs, using a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) approach.

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