Published on October 08, 2018

In a Struggle to Control Medicare Costs, Local Success

Juggling is a challenging skill yet a group of local health care providers has succeeded in delivering better care at a lower cost according to a report recently released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

The providers were members with the Physician Organization of Michigan Accountable Care Organization (POM ACO), a group of ten physician organizations from across Michigan. They saved Medicare more than $45 million in 2017 while achieving a 93.0 percent quality score, according to the report.

Local members of POM ACO who contributed to the success included 30 primary care and 130 specialists associated with MidMichigan Medical Center - Midland, as well as 15 providers associated with MidMichigan Community Health Services, a federally qualified health center based in Houghton Lake.

The effort earned the organization $20.7 million in shared savings, a portion of which will be shared with the providers who participated from around Michigan.

“This report demonstrates that our providers are truly focused on the patient,” said Mary Greeley of MidMichigan Health. “We demonstrated that we can bring down the cost of health care, so it is more affordable for everyone, while maintaining high quality and patient satisfaction scores.”

“Our participation with POM ACO has made achieving these competing goals possible. By teaming up with high-caliber health systems and providers from around the state, including Michigan Medicine, we’ve been able to learn and share what works to truly benefit patients while avoiding unnecessary costs,” she said.

This is the fifth year in which POM ACO providers have successfully lowered the cost of care to Medicare beneficiaries while at the same time demonstrating outstanding quality. Nearly 6,000 health care providers in Michigan participate with the organization, which is the fourth largest among the nation’s 472 accountable care organizations that participated in the program, and the largest one in the state of Michigan.

The Medicare Shared Saving Program was introduced in 2012 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. It rewards organizations that lower the growth in health care costs while meeting performance standards regarding the quality of care. Provider participation in the program is purely voluntary, and Medicare patients can seek treatment from any provider they wish.

Accountable care organizations are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who work together to better coordinate care and address unnecessary health care expenses. ACOs were created as part of the Affordable Care Act signed into law in 2010.

The Physician Organization of Michigan ACO, LLC (POM ACO) is a physician-led partnership of approximately 6,000 Michigan providers working together to provide better care for patients, better health for populations and lower overall health care costs.