HARTFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As groups throughout the health care system work to develop Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Aetna (NYSE: AET) today announced results of a collaborative relationship with Intercoastal Medical Group (Intercoastal), a multi-specialty medical group based in Sarasota, Florida. Since 2009, Aetna and Intercoastal have worked together to accomplish two of the main goals of ACOs through the Aetna Medicare Provider Collaboration program – improving quality of care and lowering health care costs.
Intercoastal provides care to more than 500 Aetna Medicare Advantage members through Aetna’s Provider Collaboration program. To date, more than 97 percent of these Aetna Medicare Advantage members visited their health care provider in 2011 to receive preventive and follow-up care. Compared with Medicare beneficiaries residing in the state of Florida who are enrolled in Original Medicare, this Aetna Medicare Advantage population experienced 37 percent fewer inpatient hospital days on a risk-adjusted basis and 27 percent fewer hospital readmissions.
“By working more effectively and efficiently with outstanding health care providers like Intercoastal, we have demonstrated that we can help improve the coordination and quality of care and reduce health care costs,” said Randall Krakauer, MD, FACP, FACR, Aetna’s national Medicare medical director. “Aetna believes patient-centered collaboratives can serve as one stepping stone to the creation of Accountable Care Organizations which further align financial incentives with high quality, more efficient care. We will continue to improve our Provider Collaboration program and expand the program to other health care providers across the country that deliver services to Aetna’s Medicare Advantage members.”
Coordinated Care Helps Improve Health Outcomes
One of the major components of the collaborative relationship with Intercoastal is the Aetna nurse case manager who helps coordinate care for Aetna Medicare Advantage members. As part of the Provider Collaboration program, the Aetna nurse case manager is dedicated specifically to working with the clinical staff and Aetna Medicare Advantage members receiving treatment from Intercoastal physicians.
The Commonwealth Fund described Aetna’s work with a similar “embedded” nurse case manager model in a recent case study (Sept. 2010). Aetna’s data on the model suggests that the model has decreased duplicate or unnecessary services and improved health outcomes. For example, compared to unmanaged Medicare, Aetna Medicare Advantage members required 43 percent less acute (critical) hospital care in 2010.
Aetna nurse case managers also use advanced technology to monitor the care and health progress of Aetna Medicare Advantage members. The technology is supported by the ActiveHealth CareEngine® System. The CareEngine continuously monitors all available information on patients, compares it to current medical evidence, and identifies and alerts the member and doctors to possible urgent situations and opportunities to improve the patient’s care.
Through the Provider Collaboration program, Intercoastal has met a number of clinical quality metrics agreed upon by both sides, including:
- Increasing the percentage of Aetna Medicare Advantage members who have an office visit each calendar year;
- Encouraging office visits every six months for members with chronic heart failure (CHF) or diabetes;
- Encouraging HbA1C (blood glucose) tests each calendar year for members with diabetes; and
- Confirming that members schedule follow-up visits within 30 days of being discharged from an inpatient stay.
Aetna provides Intercoastal with reports showing quality and efficiency measures at the individual member and population level.
“We have always appreciated the support we received from Aetna nurse case managers, but having somebody who is focused specifically on the Aetna Medicare patients in our practice certainly helps improve the connection between the nurse case manager and our clinical staff,” said John M. Steele, MD, President of Intercoastal Medical Group. “With this program, we can help ensure that our patients are receiving the right care at the right time.”
Aetna is working with a number of health care organizations to develop products and services that support value-driven, patient-centered care. The Aetna models and capabilities are described on the company’s new accountable care website at www.aetnaacs.com.
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.3 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com.
About Intercoastal Medical Group
IMG is a professional association of more than 60 physicians in 18 specialties, serving Sarasota and Manatee counties with six locations. Founded in 1993, Intercoastal features a team of experienced physicians, all of whom are board certified and completed their residency training programs in either the United States or Canada. A majority of IMG physicians have completed fellowship training in important specialties and sub-specialties.
Ethan Slavin, 860-273-6095