Contact: Heidi Shalev
Seton Healthcare Family Partners with Austin Regional Clinic
to Provide Person-Centered Health Care for Central Texans
Seton Health Alliance Selected as Medicare “Pioneer Accountable Care Organization”
AUSTIN, Texas – (Dec. 19, 2011) – The Seton Healthcare Family has taken a major step toward developing a new model for delivering health care in Central Texas by partnering with Austin Regional Clinic (ARC) to create Seton Health Alliance, an Accountable Care Organization (ACO).
An Accountable Care Organization is a relatively new term that describes a system where healthcare providers --- including primary care physicians, specialists, and hospitals --- work together and accept collective responsibility for the cost and quality of care delivered to a population of patients.
The Seton Health Alliance ACO will be open to community physicians and other providers, and plans to expand its collaborators and programs over the next several years. The Alliance is one of 32 integrated health networks nationwide selected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to participate in the federal government’s Pioneer ACO program.
“Creation of the Seton Heath Alliance is part of our plan to provide patients and payers with better value--efficient, appropriate and quality health care,” said Charles J. Barnett, FACHE, president /CEO, Seton Healthcare Family. “Over its 30-year history, Austin Regional Clinic has had remarkable success as a multispecialty health care group focusing on quality comprehensive care. Through the Alliance, Seton will partner with ARC and other community physician groups to integrate primary and specialty care as well as other health services, to provide the right care in the right place at the right time.”
Seton Health Alliance’s goal will be to coordinate physician visits, hospital stays and services such as physical therapy, imaging and laboratory. The ACO and its physicians aim to take a more proactive approach through enhanced patient education, care reminders and support for patients transitioning home from the hospital. Patients will have a choice of physicians and will not be limited to a specific provider network.
“The Alliance’s ACO model will aim to offer convenience and high levels of service consistent with Austin Regional Clinic’s core approach to providing care,” said Norman Chenven, MD, ARC CEO and Founder. “We want our patients to be active participants in their own treatment plans, guided by doctors and staff who listen and honor patient choices. The Alliance will offer enhanced coordinated care in Central Texas in an effort to improve the health of our entire community.”
Initially, the Alliance will serve current Medicare patients of ARC and Seton’s Community Health Centers—Topfer, Kozmetsky and McCarthy—but the network will be open to community physicians interested in participating in its programs.
Information for Medicare Patients
- Medicare patients whose providers participate in an ACO maintain all of their Medicare rights, including the right to choose any doctors and providers that accept Medicare. Patients who have Medicare coverage through a private Medicare Advantage insurance plan are not eligible to participate in an ACO. Patients with a Medicare supplement are eligible to participate.
- ACO physicians will use support staff and new systems to enhance communication about patients’ health and coordinate care. The ACO will develop programs to enable patients, especially those with chronic conditions, to obtain the care they need. Seton Health Alliance’s service area includes an 11-county region in Central Texas, with 13 hospitals in seven cities including Austin, Round Rock, Kyle, Luling, Burnet and Smithville. It includes 21 primary and specialty care outpatient clinics in six cities, including Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Hutto, Pflugerville and Kyle.
About Seton Healthcare Family: The Seton Healthcare Family is the leading provider of comprehensive, advanced health care services in Central Texas. As part of its mission to improve the health of the communities it serves, with special concern for the poor and the vulnerable, Seton plays an increasingly important role in preparing the region’s next generation of clinicians. In Fiscal Year 2010, Seton provided $300 million in charity care.
Seton’s 38 clinical locations include five major medical centers, two community hospitals, three rural hospitals, an inpatient mental health hospital, three primary care clinics for the uninsured, and several strategically located health facilities that provide medical care for well patients. The system includes the only Level I Trauma Centers for adult and pediatric patients in the Austin area, the only heart transplant center in Central Texas, and the first two Designated Stroke Centers in Texas to receive a Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission. Seton hospitals have earned four Magnet designations, the highest award for nursing excellence given by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
In 2011, U.S. News & World Report named Seton Medical Center Austin and University Medical Center Brackenridge the top two hospitals in the region based on 2008 data. Seton is a member of Ascension Health, the largest not-for-profit health network in the nation. www.seton.net
About Austin Regional Clinic – Austin Regional Clinic is a multispecialty medical group committed to providing comprehensive health care services throughout the greater Austin area. Founded by three physicians in 1980, it now provides healthcare to over 380,000 area residents in 18 locations in six cities, including both primary and specialty care. It is unique to the Austin area because of the widespread locations, convenient services and quality assurance programs. ARC patients enjoy such conveniences as same-day appointments, daytime urgent care, after hours clinics, and nursing services through the night. Most ARC offices also offer on-site radiology and lab services and some offices offer specialty programs such as a travel clinic and weight loss programs. Patients can also request future or same-day appointments from the ARC web site. www.austinregionalclinic.com