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MSHA Submits Pioneer ACO Application

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, August 26, 2011

Accountable care organizations have been a tough sell in the hospital community. Faced with a myriad of complaints about the complexities of the original program, officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services introduced the Pioneer ACO. Touted as a way for organizations experienced in care coordination and risk management to more quickly cash in on shared savings, CMS has aggressively promoted the program to potential participants.

The agency has remained remarkably silent regarding interest in the Pioneer ACO program. But now that the deadline for Pioneer applications has passed, a picture is beginning to emerge.


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Mountain States Health Alliance, a 13-hospital system based in Johnson City, Tenn., has submitted an application to the CMS to participate in the Pioneer accountable care organization program. MSHA is one of the first participants to publically acknowledge interest in the program.

If the application is approved, MSHA plans to team with Integrated Solutions Health Network  and CrestPoint Health, a third party administrator, to form AnewCareCollaborative. The regional ACO will provide services in the Johnson City and Kingsport areas of northeast Tennessee as well as the Abington area of southwest Virginia.

MSHA is a majority owner in ISHN, which in turn owns CrestPoint Health.

Rob Slattery, president and CEO of ISHN, said the group began to look at the ACO opportunity about a year ago when MSHA was working on its 10-year strategic plan.

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