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ARTICLE Quality Health Solutions, UnitedHealthcare Launch Largest Accountable Care Initiative in Wisconsin to Improve Care Quality, Reduce Costs


MILWAUKEE (Sept. 11, 2013) – Quality Health Solutions, Inc. (QHS), a collaborative of major Wisconsin health systems and the Medical College of Wisconsin, and UnitedHealthcare today announced a new accountable care initiative that will provide coordinated care to more than 100,000 Wisconsin residents enrolled in UnitedHealthcare's employer-sponsored health plans.


Under the new initiative, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2014, the 3,000 physicians and 18 hospitals comprising the five QHS members in southeastern Wisconsin (Agnesian Healthcare, Columbia St. Mary's, Froedtert Health, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare and the Medical College of Wisconsin) will be rewarded for effectively managing all aspects of patients' care, providing the right treatment in the right setting at the right time. Collectively, the participating care providers currently account for $650 million in UnitedHealthcare's annual physician and hospital reimbursements in the state.


"The innovative collaboration among multiple providers and payers reflects the uniqueness of Quality Health Solutions' approach to accountable care," said Peter Pruessing, CEO, Quality Health Solutions. "Our alliance of hospitals and physicians enables employers to offer a broad choice of providers, with the added benefit of saving money and improving quality of care. We are pleased to partner with UnitedHealthcare to implement this important initiative."


"At UnitedHealthcare, our goal is to maximize quality and value in part by aligning incentives across consumers, care providers and payers to achieve the triple aim of better health, better care and lower costs," said Wendy Arnone, president & CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Wisconsin. "The scale and geographic footprint of this partnership with Quality Health Solutions will accelerate the transformation of how we pay for health care and how health care is delivered."


QHS will provide primary care physicians ongoing status reports on their patients, enabling them to monitor each patient's care and maintain their clinical information in a secure patient registry. Care providers will be eligible for payment incentives based on meaningful improvements in measures such as readmission rates, disease management and prevention, patient safety and care delivery, and total cost savings.


"QHS's pioneering strategy brings competing health systems together in a new way that creates value by driving down costs for employers and increasing quality," said Catherine Jacobson, QHS board chair and president and CEO of Froedtert Health. "As UnitedHealthcare's partner in this market, QHS care providers will use a shared clinical information platform and common quality standards to coordinate care for UnitedHealthcare's plan participants. It is a tremendous step toward a sustainable health care system."


More than 100,000 UnitedHealthcare employer-sponsored plan participants who currently receive care from participating providers will not have to do anything differently to receive the benefits of the agreement, which include enhanced care coordination and follow-up.


UnitedHealthcare, which serves more than 1.4 million Wisconsin residents with a care provider network of more than 130 hospitals and 19,500 physicians statewide, is working with thousands of physician groups, hospitals, medical centers and other health care providers nationwide to place greater emphasis on rewarding care providers for better care, better health and lower costs.


More than $23 billion of UnitedHealthcare's annual physician and hospital reimbursements are currently tied to accountable care programs, centers of excellence and other performance-based programs. The company has announced it expects to grow its industry-leading accountable care contracts to $50 billion by 2017.


About Quality Health Solutions
Founded in 2005 and based in Brookfield, Wisconsin, Quality Health Solutions (QHS) is a consortium of independent health systems, hospitals and physicians working together to improve the quality, efficiency and value of health care services in the markets served by its members. QHS members in Wisconsin currently include Agnesian Healthcare, Aspirus, Bellin Health, Columbia St. Mary's, Froedtert Health, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare and the Medical College of Wisconsin. QHS provides a platform for sharing resources across multiple organizations and also offers a variety of solutions that can be implemented at the local level, including e-ICU monitoring, telehealth services, data integration, care management and a clinically integrated accountable care network. The QHS vision is to redefine the delivery of health care through innovation and integration.


About UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with 780,000 physicians and other health care professionals and 5,900 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 40 million people in health benefits and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.