BANGOR, Maine — EMHS announced today its new Accountable Care Organization will be known as Beacon Health LLC, to reflect the success of the federally funded Bangor Beacon Community Project. EMHS also announced it has enlisted Geisinger Health System of Pennsylvania to partner with EMHS and Beacon Health.
As reported in December 2011, EMHS has become one of only 32 organizations across the United States invited to become a Pioneer Accountable Care Organization through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. According to M. Michelle Hood, FACHE, president and CEO of EMHS, the five year demonstration project is designed to improve the coordination, efficiency, effectiveness, quality and cost of health care.
“Our participation with Geisinger and the federal Pioneer ACO initiative has everything to do with ensuring that our patients in central, eastern, and northern Maine receive the care they need to stay well and out of the hospital,” said Dr. Erik Steele, EMHS chief medical officer. “With the new EMHS Beacon Health, doctors and other health care providers partner with their patients, and the overall goal is the patient’s improved health and well-being. Perhaps most importantly, patients do not lose choice. In fact, some patients may receive more care in more appropriate settings. Geisinger has proven this model of care works, and we welcome their experience in helping us make Beacon Health successful.”
Additionally, Dr. Steele stressed that an ACO is not a health maintenance organization, or HMO, nor does an ACO affect people’s Medicare benefits. The ACO structure puts doctors in charge to partner with patients on their good health, “ACOs do not put insurance companies in charge of patient care.”
EMHS’ Beacon Health will initially focus on Medicare patients that use primary care providers at practices affiliated with The Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle, Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor and Inland Hospital in Waterville. All three hospitals are members of EMHS. Additional work is also occurring with employers in the area to offer this model of care to their employees.