Q&A: UW Medicine Accountable Care Network
UW Medicine is pleased to announce the launch of its accountable care network. To expand access to comprehensive care throughout the Puget Sound region, UW Medicine has partnered with several other excellent healthcare organizations to provide a wide geographic network for convenient access to care. This network, known as the UW Medicine Accountable Care Network, has launched its first employer product, with Boeing.
Q. Why is UW Medicine establishing an accountable care network?
A. UW Medicine’s mission is to improve the health of the public. To advance this mission, UW Medicine has created a contractual network of healthcare organizations and healthcare professionals to work together with purchasers of healthcare to be accountable for the healthcare of identified patient populations. The goal is to achieve the “triple aim” of better care for individuals, better health for populations, and lower per capita healthcare costs. The formation of an accountable care network supports the efforts of insurers, employers and healthcare organizations to develop innovative approaches to provide high-quality care while lowering costs and providing timely access to care.
Q. In addition to UW Medicine, which organizations are members in the accountable care network and how were they selected?
A. UW Medicine owned and/or operated entities (University of Washington Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, Valley Medical Center, Northwest Hospital, UW Neighborhood Clinics, UW Physicians, School of Medicine, Airlift Northwest) and independent and/or employed physicians at Northwest Hospital and Valley Medical Center will participate in the UW Medicine Accountable Care Network. Other members in the UW Medicine Accountable Care Network were selected based on their commitment to the Triple Aim, ability to augment the geographic area UW Medicine serves, and dedication to providing timely access to excellent services in the communities they serve. In addition to all UW Medicine healthcare professionals, hospitals and clinics, Cascade Valley Hospital, Island Hospital, MultiCare Health System, Overlake Hospital Medical Center, PeaceHealth, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle Children’s Hospital and Skagit Regional Health are members of the Accountable Care Network.
Q. How will the accountable care network function?
A. Each provider in the accountable care network is committed to providing enhanced patient service. In certain payer-specific arrangements requiring the geographic reach and continuity of care the network can provide, the providers will work together on a product by product basis with payers of healthcare as an integrated clinical network.
Q. How will Boeing patients make appointments?
A. Patients will call the UW Medicine Contact Center using a number designated for eligible Boeing employees and retirees who choose to receive care from our network. The Contact Center will schedule appointments for UW Medicine entities and will facilitate connections with accountable care network members to secure each appointment in a timely manner.
Q. What has UW Medicine done to prepare to serve as an accountable care network?
A. UW Medicine has been making substantial changes, including major investments in information technology, for the past 10 years to prepare to serve as an integrated healthcare organization. In 2008, UW Medicine’s continuous strategic planning efforts were focused on further changes to prepare for service as an accountable care network. One new program, our investment in a Patients Are First framework, has oriented all entities within UW Medicine to place the patient’s needs at the center of everything we do. Our work to achieve the Patients Are First pillar goals — for patient safety and satisfaction, quality outcome measures, cost controls, and employee satisfaction — is the foundation for our successful service as an accountable care network.
One example of our preparation to serve as an accountable care network is our work to meet federal Meaningful Use goals to use certified electronic health record (EHR) technology to improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities; engage patients and their families; improve care coordination; and maintain privacy and security of patient health information. The goals of Meaningful Use are better clinical outcomes, improved population health outcomes, increased transparency and efficiency. Another example is our recent deployment of the Epic medical record system to specialty clinics. These activities further our readiness to meet the specific objectives of an accountable care network, such as integrating care across providers for better, more efficient and coordinated care. In addition to UW Medicine’s preparation, each member of the UW Medicine Accountable Care Network has been engaged in similar activities.
Q. Who is the first partner?
A. The UW Medicine Accountable Care Network for Boeing employees is the first accountable care relationship for the network. Boeing refers to this as the “Preferred Partnership option.”
Q. How does Boeing’s approach work?
A. The UW Medicine Accountable Care Network will work with Boeing and its health plans to be accountable for the quality and cost of care of the population that has selected this option (also called the “Preferred Partnership option”) using agreed upon metrics and targets. UW Medicine has similar arrangements with other payers of healthcare.
Q. Will the healthcare provided through the accountable care network be different than the healthcare provided to patients who are not part of this network?
A. Healthcare delivered through the UW Medicine Accountable Care Network will be the same high-quality care our member healthcare organizations participating in the Network provide to all patients. As demonstrated by our commitment to the Triple Aim, our objectives are to continue to improve the care for all individual patients, improve the health of the population we serve, and reduce per capita costs. We are striving to provide rapid access for all patients to the most qualified healthcare professional, in the most appropriate setting. This approach may mean same or next-day primary care appointments, or it could mean that the patient is seen in one of our urgent care settings. Our goal is to provide the best care at the right time.
In the case of Boeing, members of the UW Medicine Accountable Care Network will integrate the care delivered with Boeing’s employer-sponsored programs, in addition to creating tools to help employees select providers within our accountable care network during open enrollment. An online portal will be available that can be used to see which providers and hospitals are in the accountable care network, access the UW Medicine Contact Center and learn more about the accountable care network.
Q. What are the hospitals and clinics included in the UW Medicine Accountable Care Network?
- Allenmore Hospital – MultiCare
- Auburn Medical Center – MultiCare
- Cascade Valley Hospital & Clinics
- Children’s University Medical Group
- Good Samaritan Hospital – MultiCare
- Harborview Medical Center & Clinics – UW Medicine
- Island Hospital & Clinics
- Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Clinics – MultiCare
- MultiCare Clinics
- Northwest Hospital & Medical Center & Clinics – UW Medicine
- Overlake Medical Center & Clinics
- PeaceHealth Medical Group
- Peace Island Medical Center – PeaceHealth
- Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
- Seattle Children’s Hospital
- Skagit Valley Hospital & Clinics
- St. Joseph Medical Center – PeaceHealth
- Tacoma General Hospital – MultiCare
- United General Medical Center – PeaceHealth
- UW Medical Center – UW Medicine
- UW Neighborhood Clinics – UW Medicine
- UW Physicians – UW Medicine
- Valley Medical Center & Clinics – UW Medicine