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Texas Health, Blue Cross team up for ACO

Arlington-based Texas Health Resources, which says it admits more patients than any hospital system in North Texas, has teamed with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas for what the organizations call the the area's largest Accountable Care Organization. Unlike most ACOs, which are creations of the Affordable Care Act and apply only to the federal Medicare program, the THR-BCBS effort is aimed at commercial members. Ron Long,  chief financial officer of THR, said the new ACO is expected to have about 50,000 participants when it starts and to grow significantly. He said THR will approach other insurers to create similar but separate ACOs with them.

"Texas Health has been advancing the concept of putting more emphasis on keeping people healthy and out of the hospital and developing new programs like this ACO to help employers keep their employees healthy," said Texas Health Resources CEO Doug Hawthorne. Bert Marshall, president of BCBS Texas, said the ACO is an extension of the insurer's other initiatives "designed to reward physicians for managing costs and quality of whole  patient care and moving from the traditional fee-for-service approach to a fee-for-value payment model." Texas Health's 25 hospitals and 18 outpatient facilities are already part of BCBS Texas' provider network. The ACO will cover 12 North Texas counties, including Tarrant and Dallas.

-- Jim Fuquay



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