Five health systems in North Texas are launching an ACO called Forward Health Partners. Forward Health Partners includes 42 hospitals, 72 outpatient facilities, more than 1,300 primary care physicians, and more than 4,100 specialists throughout the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area. In a statement, Texas Health Resources said that the scope of the network “will truly bring health and wellness into the community where people live, work and play, with programs such as home care, weight management, and behavioral health delivered in new convenient ways.”  The agreement includes Children’s Health, Cook Children’s, Methodist Health System, Texas Health Resources, and UT Southwestern Medical Center.

“By creating a coalition of five of the leading health care systems in the region, we are effectively moving the delivery of health care forward in North Texas in a very strategic, measured and measurable way,” said Shawn Parsley, D.O., President, Texas Health Physicians Group and board member of Forward Health Partners. “Forward Health Partners will break new ground in the financing of health care, managing population health, and enhancing the patient experience of care within our community.”

UnitedHealthcare and Advocate are expanding their ACO agreement to include more than 80,000 UnitedHealthcare enrollees using an employer-based health plan. Last year they formed an ACO to manage 5,500 UnitedHealthcare lives under its Medicare Advantage plan. Mike Engelhart, president of Advocate Physician Partners, told Crain’s Chicago Business that he hoped the ACO would be as successful as the one Advocate launched with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. UnitedHealthcare serves 1.4 million Illinois residents and Advocate, with 12 hospitals, is one of the largest systems in the state.

Rockford, Ill.-based Rockford Health System and Humana announced an agreement to form an ACO for members throughout northern Illinois. Rockford Health System includes Rockford Memorial Hospital, Rockford Health Physicians, a Visiting Nurse Association and Rockford Memorial Development Foundation. Its network includes 450 physicians. The agreement became effective May 1. 

Separately, Humana announced a new ACO with Lancaster, Penn.-based Lancaster General Health. The agreement is for more than 3,000 members enrolled in Humana’s Medicare Advantage plan throughout Lancaster County. Humana said the agreement is being managed by LG Health’s accountable care organization, the LG Health Community Care Collaborative, which launched in 2014.

Providence Health & Services Western Montana and Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System (SCL Health) created a joint venture called Northern Rockies Healthcare Alliance (NRHA), an ACO created to care for patients throughout the state of Montana. Providence said the NRHA will work with large, self-insured employers, associations and payers to create alternative payment models that reduce costs and deliver better quality care.

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