Health Centers in the Era of Accountable Care: Insights from AltaMed Health Services
Health Centers in the Era of Accountable Care: Insights from AltaMed Health Services, is the second in a series of white papers examining trends in development and growth among emerging safety-net ACOs over the past two years supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Our analysis draws examples from our research on safety-net ACOs nationally as well as from three site visits and 25 interviews with leaders at AltaMed Health Care Services based in Los Angeles, CA. AltaMed is the nation’s largest federally-qualified health center (FQHC) and an independent practice association (IPA) serving Los Angeles and Orange Counties, with approximately 147,000 MediCal patients an increasing portion enrolled in risk-based contracts. AltaMed’s transformation from a single health center into a virtual ACO competing with other large provider groups is interesting to study because of its size, growth, and experience with financial risk.
The paper explores opportunities for health centers to play a role in accountable care organizations, either within formal ACOs or within ACO networks, using the case of AltaMed as one innovative example of a health center successfully acting as a “virtual ACO.” The paper explores three key three key findings regarding:
- how health centers can leverage their geographic accountability to achieve population health and financial stability;
- refine their care model to increasingly reflect a whole-person focus as a strategy for meeting the Triple Aim;
- benefit from assuming financial risk incrementally.
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