Essentia Health is proud to be one of the first six healthcare organizations in the country to receive the accountable care organizations (ACOs) designation.
ACOs are groups of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers who provide coordinated, high-quality care while also reducing costs. The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has the new accreditation program designed to take the guesswork out of identifying high-value ACOs, Essentia Health reported. The three-year accreditation, issued by NCQA, recognizes that Essentia Health’s ACO is well-positioned to meet health care’s triple aim of improving clinical quality, enhancing patient experience and reducing overall healthcare costs.
Essentia Health Chief Operating Officer John Smylie discussed ACOs and the NCQA accreditation process during a webinar sponsored by the NCQA. While most healthcare experts agree ACOs are a good idea, it hasn’t been clear what a good ACO looks like. By creating an accreditation program, the NCQA established a set of best practice standards that may be used nationwide.
“Basically, NCQA has created a blueprint for providing and coordinating care as an ACO,” Smylie said in a news release. “If we follow the practices outlined by the NCQA, we will raise our quality and ultimately lower costs for payers and patients.”
Being named an accredited ACO by the NCQA helps purchasers and insurance providers identify effective partners, Essentia Health reported, adding it also helps patients find physicians.
“By earning NCQA Accreditation, Essentia Health has demonstrated to payers and other purchasers that it has met challenging requirements designed to show the efficiency, integration and high quality expected of an ACO. NCQA Accreditation also shows patients and providers Essentia Health is prepared to deliver on the promise of better care on all these dimensions,” said Margaret E. O’Kane, President of NCQA.