Intermountain, UnitedHealthcare launch ACO

Improved health outcomes for Intermountain Healthcare patients with Medicare coverage through UnitedHealthcare is the goal of a new ACO launched by the organizations.

Through the ACO, Salt Lake City-based Intermountain and UnitedHealthcare will work together to coordinate care for the health insurer's Medicare Advantage members, 136,000 of which live in Utah. For eligible members who receive care from Intermountain primary care physicians, UnitedHealthcare will tie the physicians' payment to the health outcomes experienced by its members.

Intermountain and UnitedHealthcare announced their ACO Dec. 16. Intermountain created the ACO through its company Castell, which is focused on moving from fee-for-service medicine to value-based payment models. Castell will help Intermountain's primary care physicians manage medical services and documentation for patients in the ACO.

The model will also allow UnitedHealthcare to share patient-level data about members' chronic conditions, past medical care and medications with Intermountain physicians. The data can help physicians know if their patients are more prone to poor outcomes that could lead to emergency room visits or hospitalizations.

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