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Atrius Health’s Next Generation Accountable Care Organization Achieves Strong Quality and Patient Experience Scores, Saves Medicare $18.8 million

Results announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) underscore importance of primary care, prevention and coordination

Atrius Health announced today that its Next Generation Accountable Care Organization (ACO) achieved strong clinical quality and patient experience scores from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) while saving the agency $18.8 million in 2019. The results underscore the importance of a strong primary care system to keep people healthy through prevention, coordination, and management of chronic diseases.

In 2019, Atrius Health’s third reporting year of Next Generation ACO participation, CMS evaluated organizations based on 23 total measures representing patient/caregiver experience, care coordination and patient safety, preventive health, and care for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and depression. When compared with other Next Generation ACO participants, Atrius Health scored above the mean in six out of ten patient experience metrics, and five out of six preventive health metrics. Other Atrius Health metrics that scored above the mean include influenza immunization, screening for clinical depression and follow-up plan, colorectal cancer screening, breast cancer screening, and statin therapy for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, among patients with hypertension, more than 87 percent of Atrius Health’s Medicare Next Generation ACO participants had a blood pressure considered to be within control compared to the mean performance of 79 percent.

“We are proud of our wonderful care teams who led us to another successful year of Next Generation ACO participation, and thank our patients for entrusting their care to us,” said Steve Strongwater, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Atrius Health. “Whether in a pandemic or during more normal times, primary care is essential to helping people recover, manage chronic conditions, and provide the screenings and vaccinations they need to stay healthy.”

Atrius Health’s practices, including over 39,000 Medicare beneficiaries who received most of their primary care at Dedham Medical Associates, Granite Medical Group, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates or PMG Physician Associates, saved CMS $18.8 million compared to its target, all of which will be returned in savings to the organization. Atrius Health’s progress as a third-year Next Generation ACO follows six years of steady improvement in savings to Medicare as one of the 32 original Pioneer ACOs.

The medical group’s strong historical performance is due in large part to decreasing unnecessary hospital admissions and helping people recover safely at home. Atrius Health applies its savings to investments in care coordination, telemedicine, data analytics, and other resources serving its Medicare beneficiaries and other patients.

“Value-based models are proven ways to improve outcomes and patient experience while keeping people out of emergency departments and reducing total medical expense,” added Dr. Strongwater. “As we continue to serve our communities during this pandemic, leaders and policymakers should further embrace these approaches and invest in the future of our nation’s health care system through primary care.”