Columbia University Medical Center

ACO Advances Care Management, Quality Infrastructure

The New York Quality Care Accountable Care Organization (ACO), a tripartite project of ColumbiaDoctors, Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM), and NewYork-Presbyterian (NYP), now has more than 38,000 attributed beneficiaries.  The ACO has helped to build valuable partnerships and a care management and quality infrastructure for population health management, chief medical officer Shunichi “Nick” Homma, MD, MHCDS, told the faculty practice’s Board of Governance at its meeting in March.

Launched in 2015 after several years of preparation, the ACO has focused on several key activities:

  • Managing care for high-risk patients, including transitions of care from the hospital for patients with end-stage renal disease and congestive heart failure; approximately 1,000 patients were included in the program in 2017
  • Enhanced infrastructure for quality reporting and improvement, including standardized documentation in CROWN
  • Physician engagement and feedback, including an incentive program, and gaps reported to practices and providers
  • The HCC coding and documentation improvement program, with one-on-one education for highly attributed providers and monthly HCC webinars

“We were able to develop effective care management structures in the ACO and then use the knowledge in developing such structures for commercial payers, where these programs are becoming increasingly important,” Dr. Homma said.

“We are extending the infrastructure to CAP patient groups, and then to the new primary care group we are in process of forming. This will form a population health foundation to work with the specialists at CUMC.” Participating in the ACO also allowed the three partners to respond to MIPS as a group, rather than separately for each of Columbia’s 40-plus tax ID numbers.

Next on the horizon for ColumbiaDoctors’ partnership with WCM and NYP: Preparation for Epic. Dr. Homma notes that additional shared ventures are also being planned, including ongoing CHF care standardization. “These will depend on the collaboration among the three entities that we have started with the ACO initiative,” he said.