Published on October 19, 2020

Physician Partnership Helps Continue to Control Medicare Costs

Thanks to teamwork among a group of Michigan physician organizations, including MidMichigan Health providers, approximately 40,000 Medicare participants across the state received better care in 2019. This is even though their care cost tens of millions of dollars less than Medicare had predicted. In fact, the Medicare system saved $53.8 million on the care of those Michiganders in 2019, while the quality of that care surpassed high standards laid out by the government.

The data, released by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), show the results of a concerted effort by nearly 4,500 physicians and other providers who take part in the statewide Physician Organization of Michigan Accountable Care Organization, LLC (POM ACO).

This is the third year in a row that POM ACO has earned back a portion of the funds it saved CMS. POM ACO is one of the few ACOs to have such a long track record of both savings and high quality of care every year under programs created through the Affordable Care Act.

“We are proud to report significant savings in 2019, which continues our strong track record of saving CMS nearly $200 million of taxpayer’s dollars during the life of our ACO and sharing in those savings the last three years,” said David Serlin, M.D., POM ACO’s medical director and an associate professor and associate chair for clinical programs in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. “This year, our quality performance improved significantly, as well. At nearly 94 percent, it demonstrates our focused commitment to providing our patients with the highest quality of care.”

POM ACO providers, who serve patients from all Michigan counties, will share a portion of the savings that they achieved for the Medicare system. Much of the money will be invested in improvements aimed at continuing to move the needle on care quality and cost.

“The POM ACO provider network and affiliated provider organizations have a proven ability to deliver high quality care that is very cost efficient,” says Tim Peterson, M.D., M.B.A., POM ACO physician executive and population health executive at Michigan Medicine. “We are proud of our partnership with Medicare and look forward to continuing to pursue POM ACO’s ambitious vision of transforming healthcare delivery through our commitment to patients, community, collaboration, innovation, quality, integrity, value and leadership.”

U-M, Oakland Southfield Physicians, MidMichigan Health and Wexford Crawford PHO continue their longstanding commitment to new models of care and partnership with providers around the state in the care of all people in Michigan.

Within MidMichigan Health, affiliated partners include practices in Breckenridge, Freeland, Gratiot, Ithaca, Midland, Mt. Pleasant, Sanford and Shepherd. Additionally, rural providers in Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in Houghton Lake and Roscommon, including Family Medicine Provider Jeff Strickler, M.D., were participants.

Participating practices focused on connecting patients who had visited the emergency room on multiple occasions with primary care providers. Patients were screened for additional social needs, such as housing, transportation, food insecurity and inability to afford medications. Following the screening, the patients were then connected with suitable resources.

“As a health care provider in Houghton Lake, it is important we place the best interests of the patient at the center of what we do as an ACO,” said Dr. Strickler. “We have a committed group of participating health care organizations doing just that, working together to identify best practices to provide better value to their patients, while continuously identifying ways to improve the quality of care. We look forward to continued collaboration with CMS and our partner organizations within POM ACO to serve as a model to transform health care delivery for a healthy Michigan.”

Those interested in learning more about the POM ACO may visit