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ARTICLE Atlantic ACO, UnitedHealthcare Collaborate to Improve Health Care Quality, Reduce Costs in New Jersey


TRENTON, N.J. (April 7, 2014) – The Atlantic Accountable Care Organization (Atlantic ACO) and UnitedHealthcare are partnering to provide coordinated health care that improves quality and reduces costs for New Jersey residents enrolled in UnitedHealthcare's employer-sponsored health plans.

Atlantic ACO, a subsidiary of Atlantic Health System, includes more than 1,700 primary care physicians and specialists who coordinate care and are accountable for quality, cost and patient satisfaction for the health care they provide.   

The new accountable care organization model, which will launch June 1, will help shift the New Jersey health care system from one based on volume of care to one that rewards quality and value. Atlantic ACO and its affiliated physicians will manage all aspects of patients' care, providing the right care in the right place at the right time. This will be UnitedHealthcare's first ACO in New Jersey.

"Atlantic ACO is pleased to join with UnitedHealthcare on a model that will enhance health services and improve coordination of care for patients," said David Shulkin, M.D., president, Atlantic ACO and Morristown Medical Center, and vice president of Atlantic Health System. "We have had great success in improving wellness and managing costs for the more than 120,000 people enrolled in our ACO and look forward to expanding to include UnitedHealthcare employer-sponsored health plan participants." 

"Atlantic ACO is a leader in accountable care in New Jersey with extensive experience in coordinating quality care that leads to better health outcomes for patients," said Michael McGuire, president & CEO, UnitedHealthcare of New York and New Jersey. "We believe our ACO partnership will deliver enhanced quality and efficient care for our health plan customers in New Jersey."

The new ACO collaboration will help Atlantic ACO's primary care physicians, hospitals and home health care providers improve transitions of care for patients and facilitate better communication with all who are involved in a patient's treatment. Primary care physicians in the ACO will receive regular patient updates, enabling them to monitor all of the care each patient is receiving, and to maintain all clinical information about each patient in a secure patient registry.

More than 16,000 UnitedHealthcare plan participants who currently receive care from Atlantic ACO care providers will not have to do anything differently to receive ACO benefits, which include enhanced care coordination and follow-up.

Atlantic Health System, based in Morristown, N. J., is one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in New Jersey. It includes Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, Overlook Medical Center in Summit, Newton Medical Center in Newton, Chilton Medical Center in Pompton Plains, and Goryeb Children's Hospital in Morristown, as well as Atlantic Rehabilitation, Atlantic Home Care and Hospice and its subsidiary, Atlantic Ambulance Corporation.

Atlantic Health System comprises nearly 1,600 licensed beds and more than 13,400 employees, including more than 3,700 physicians. Atlantic Health System is a clinical and academic affiliate of The Mount Sinai Hospital and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; a Major Clinical Affiliate of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey; part of Atlantic Accountable Care Organization, one of the largest ACOs in the nation; and is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an alliance of seven health care systems that have come together to improve health care quality, affordability and access by sharing clinical, intellectual and economic capabilities.

UnitedHealthcare, which serves more than 1.5 million people in New Jersey with a care provider network of 88 hospitals and more than 19,000 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.

"UnitedHealthcare seeks to improve health care quality and efficiency in line with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's ‘Triple Aim' – better care and better health at lower cost," McGuire said. "This collaboration with AHS hospitals builds on our commitment to help people in New Jersey live healthier lives."

More than $27 billion of UnitedHealthcare's annual physician and hospital reimbursements are tied to accountable care programs, centers of excellence and other performance-based programs. The company last year announced it expects to grow its industry-leading accountable care contracts to $65 billion by 2018. For more information about UnitedHealthcare's accountable care initiatives, visit www.AccountableCareAnswers.com.

About Atlantic Accountable Care Organization

Touted as one of the "100 ACOs to Know" by Becker's Hospital Review, the Atlantic ACO was one of the first and largest in the country selected to participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program Accountable Care Organization, a multifaceted program sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Atlantic ACO includes participation from more than 1,700 physicians, including more than 400 primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and ancillary care providers in six New Jersey counties: Bergen, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Somerset, and Union. Through its participating physicians, hospitals, and staff, Atlantic ACO is committed to improving the quality of health care and reducing the individual and clinical health care costs for the population served in these regions. Atlantic ACO cares for more than 87,000 Medicare beneficiaries.

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 more than 800,000 physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. Globally, UnitedHealthcare serves more than 45 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.