Partners HealthCare has been selected by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to begin contract negotiations for the MassHealth Accountable Care Organization (ACO) program. If terms are accepted, Partners will transition from the MassHealth ACO pilot to a full-scale ACO program, which will expand the ACO program to nearly all MassHealth patients across the Partners system covering a projected population of greater than 100,000 participants.

Partners, one of six organizations selected by the Commonwealth, has been participating in the MassHealth ACO pilot since December 2016. Over the past seven months, the Partners MassHealth ACO has expanded several population health programs including care management, behavioral health, and substance use disorders to include community health workers, social workers, and recovery coaches. This approach has allowed Partners to provide more individualized care and to better meet patients where they are.

“We are optimistic about the possibility of partnering with the state for the full roll-out of the MassHealth ACO program and offering these services more broadly to our MassHealth patients,” said Alex Sheff, Senior Program Manager of the MassHealth ACO pilot, Partners Center for Population Health. “This would be another opportunity to work even more closely with many long standing community partners to improve care coordination and focus on addressing social determinants of health.”

We are optimistic about the possibility of partnering with the state for the full roll-out of the MassHealth ACO program and offering these services more broadly to our MassHealth patients

Alex Sheff Senior Program Manager of the MassHealth ACO pilot, Partners Center for Population Health

The ACO model is not new to Partners. In 2012, Partners was selected by the federal government to pilot one of the first ACO programs in the country, called the Pioneer ACO, and is currently participating in the Next Generation ACO model. Over the past four years, Partners has achieved nearly $31 million in cost savings and has been recognized as one of the best ACOs in the nation for delivering high quality care with an overall quality score of 96.04%. 

“We look forward to working with the Commonwealth to find an agreeable contract that can enable both the health care providers and the state to be successful in improving care and reducing costs,” said Eric Weil, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Primary Care, Partners Center for Population Health, and lead of Partners’ MassHealth ACO pilot.

The MassHealth ACO program will begin January 2018.