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Emory, Kaiser Permanente Form Population Health Collaborative

Analysis  |  By John Commins  
   June 14, 2018

The integrated care network will use two Emory Hospitals in Atlanta for Kaiser Permanente members, with an emphasis on population health management, ambulatory and hospital care.

Emory Healthcare and Kaiser Permanente are developing a joint integrated population health model for KP members in the Atlanta area, the two health systems announced.

The initiative commits both providers to build an integrated care model for KP members at Emory University Hospital Midtown and Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital, with a focus on population health management, ambulatory and hospital care, research and academics.

KP provided an unspecified capital investment for expansion of both hospitals to accommodate the larger volume of patients. 

"The long-term benefits of this collaboration will serve as a national model for other health systems and extend beyond our two organizations," Emory Healthcare CEO Johnathan S. Lewin said in a media release.

"Patients and communities far beyond Georgia will benefit from the transformation in care, affordability, research, prevention and health outcomes that will come from this initiative," he said.

Under the model:

  • The two health systems will develop infrastructure and joint capacity planning, and push collaboration on physician staffing, technology, care coordination, patient engagement, and improving performance metrics.
  • The Southeast Permanente Medical Group physicians will treat KP patients at Emory University Hospital Midtown and Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital, with the help of KP care managers and Emory providers.
  • KP will maintain some existing service affiliations, including labor and delivery services, at Northside Hospital.
  • Emory will continue its relationships with its affiliated health plans and serve its members and all existing patients without a change in service or access.

'A Different Animal'

Sarah E. Wilson, principal analyst of market access insights at Nashville-based Decision Resources Group, called the initiative "a big deal, given the clout of both entities."

"There appears to be a lot of synergies between the two that would make this agreement a good fit for the everyone, including the patient," Wilson said.

"We have seen academic medical centers partner with health plans for other initiatives, but this feels like a different animal. This could very well set off a new trend as integrated delivery networks continue to evolve," she said.  

Simpson said Emory has placed a focus on value-based care in recent years through accountable care organizations, including a recent agreement with WalMart, and other initiatives.

"This coupled with the highly-specialized care that is available through the academic medical system is likely very appealing to KP," she said.

"The increased capital Emory received to make improvements to Midtown and Saint Joseph's will benefit Kaiser patients and those with other health plans, and was likely a contributing factor to moving forward with the agreement," she said, adding that Kaiser's selectivity with hospital partners should increase Emory's national profile. 

Editor's note: A previous version of this story misstated the name of the company for which Sarah Wilson works. The company's name is Decision Resources Group.

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

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