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Mercy Health, Centene Form Medicaid Accountable Care Organization

Mercy Health will join payer organizations to create an accountable care organization for Medicaid beneficiaries.

Mercy Health and Centene form ACO

Source: Thinkstock

By Thomas Beaton

- Mercy Health of Arkansas and the Centene Corporation have received approval to operate an accountable care organization within the state focusing on Medicaid beneficiaries, the organizations announced in a press release.

Centene subsidiaries LifeShare and Arkansas Health & Wellness received a license with Mercy Health to form risk-based provider organizations (RBPOs) under a program called Arkansas Total Care.  The RBPO will manage a Medicaid special needs population, including individuals who have high behavioral health needs and developmental disabilities.

"The state of Arkansas has taken an innovative step to improve coordination of behavioral health, developmental/intellectual disabilities, and physical health services with this provider-led program.  Mercy is pleased to participate in this model of care for the benefit of the Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley communities," said Steve Goss, MD, President of Mercy Clinic Northwest Arkansas.

Beginning in 2018, Arkansas Total Care RBPOs will provide care coordination to Medicaid populations and will transition to inheriting full risk-based performance and management by 2019.

The state’s Department of Health and Human Services expects 30,000 individuals to be enrolled. Leaders from both Mercy and Health & Wellness believe the RBPOs will greatly enhance care quality for thousands of Medicaid beneficiaries.

"The Arkansas Department of Insurance and the Department of Human Services have been leaders and partners during this organizational stage,” Gross said. “Mercy looks forward to being part of a high-quality program of services for thousands of our community members and their families, owing to the DHS team's support and the excellence of the Centene organization and its network."

John Ryan, President and CEO for Arkansas Health & Wellness, added, "Receiving this license is a significant milestone in our path to serve the state's most vulnerable populations."

"We believe provider-led health plans can ensure providers are leading healthcare decisions that result in better health outcomes for members at a lower cost to the state.”

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