(Brewer, ME) - EMHS announced today its new Accountable Care Organization (ACO) will be known as Beacon Health, LLC, to reflect the success of the federally funded Bangor Beacon Community Project. EMHS also announced it has enlisted Geisinger Health System of Pennsylvania, to partner with EMHS and Beacon Health.

As reported in December 2011, EMHS has become one of only 32 organizations across the United States invited to become a Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). According to M. Michelle Hood, FACHE, president and CEO of EMHS, the five year demonstration project is designed to improve the coordination, efficiency, effectiveness, quality and cost of healthcare.

Geisinger Health System has achieved a national reputation for developing and implementing healthcare innovations that result in quality and value. Geisinger Health System and Geisinger Health Plan, the insurance component of the system, are viewed across the country as a model for ACO design.

“Accountable care model demonstration projects will enable hospitals, physicians, and community based health services to work together to make meaningful changes in American healthcare,” Hood said. “Geisinger has earned national recognition for its success in Pennsylvania with innovative approaches to improve the quality of patient care. EMHS is well-positioned to work with Geisinger to replicate its highly successful model”

One important component of ACOs is a change in how healthcare providers are paid. It’s a shift to being paid for how well patients do as opposed to being reimbursed for the amount of work healthcare providers do. The model rewards providers for keeping their patients well rather than for only treating their illnesses.

“Our participation with Geisinger and the federal Pioneer ACO initiative has everything to do with ensuring that our patients in central, eastern, and northern Maine receive the care they need to stay well and out of the hospital,” said Erik Steele, DO, EMHS chief medical officer. “With the new EMHS Beacon Health, doctors and other healthcare providers partner with their patients, and the overall goal is the patient’s improved health and well-being. Perhaps most importantly, patients do not lose choice. In fact, some patients may receive more care in more appropriate settings. Geisinger has proven this model of care works, and we welcome their experience in helping us make Beacon Health successful.”

Additionally, Dr. Steele stressed that an ACO is not a health maintenance organization, or HMO, nor does an ACO affect people’s Medicare benefits. The ACO structure puts doctors in charge to partner with patients on their good health, “ACOs do not put insurance companies in charge of patient care.”

“Our patients in rural Pennsylvania have benefited from Geisinger’s innovative efforts to redesign care focused on the needs of each patient, regardless of their health status. EMHS has a parallel, forward learning culture, and the necessary building blocks for accountable care. We look forward to partnering with EMHS, and demonstrating that our proven model can be successful in other rural areas,” said Glenn Steele, MD, PhD, president and CEO of Geisinger Health System.
“EMHS is dedicated to leading rural Maine into more effective systems of care. We are especially pleased that the federal government selected EMHS to be part of its Pioneer ACO effort. We are also pleased to be working with Geisinger and to be able to draw upon their vast expertise to complement the significant work we have already done here in Maine. The measurement of success will be based on the improved health status and care of our patients as we better coordinate the components of our complex healthcare system with each patient as a partner,” said Hood.

EMHS’ Beacon Health will initially focus on Medicare patients that utilize primary care providers at practices affiliated with the Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle, Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, and Inland Hospital in Waterville. All three hospitals are members of EMHS. Additional work is also occurring with employers in our area to offer this model of care to their employees.

EMHS is committed to helping the residents of the communities we serve have access to quality healthcare. By sharing resources and working together with all of our members, EMHS helps ensure that our aligned health providers have access to new technologies and the best medical protocols available, and the support they need to survive. This is why we say, together we’re stronger! A nationally recognized integrated healthcare system, EMHS serves communities from Greenville to Blue Hill and Waterville to Presque Isle. EMHS members include The Acadia Hospital, Affiliated Healthcare Systems, The Aroostook Medical Center, Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, Charles A Dean Memorial Hospital, Eastern Maine HomeCare, Eastern Maine Medical Center, Healthcare Charities, Inland Hospital, Rosscare, and Sebasticook Valley Health.

Geisinger is an integrated health services organization including Geisinger Health Plan widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record and the development and implementation of innovative care models including ProvenHealth Navigator, an advanced medical home model and ProvenCare program. The system serves more than 2.6 million residents throughout 44 counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. For more information, visit www.geisinger.org and www.thehealthplan.com. Follow the latest Geisinger news and more at www.twitter.com/geisingerhealth  and www.facebook.com/geisingerhealth.

 The ABC's of ACO

Annual Report

Explore our interactive report

Provider Finder

Find a healthcare provider near you.


Access your health records through our secure patient portal

EMHS Advocacy

Healthcare policy information

EMHS Beacon Health

The Difference in Care

EMHS Foundation

Help us help others