Maine Communities Receive Some of the Highest Quality Care in the Country


A recently released report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicates that Beacon Health is a top national performer in quality care delivery.

Earlier today, CMS issued the quality and financial performance results for their Medicare Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), including Pioneer and Shared Savings Programs. According to the report, Beacon Health is ranked second among the 19 Pioneer ACOs nationally for overall quality. Beacon Health’s performance is a testament to this recognition: our care teams were able to decrease hospital admissions for asthma, heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients, while also meeting or exceeding the ninetieth percentile in 11 out of the 33 quality measures when compared to Pioneers nationwide.

The Beacon Health Pioneer network, which serves nearly 30,000 Medicare beneficiaries, is building a strong foundation of collaboration, trust, and integration among 70 primary care practices, more than 300 providers, and 11 hospitals, along with 15 skilled nursing facilities across the state. The network includes all EMHS member organizations, Maine Coast Memorial Hospital, Mount Desert Island Hospital, Sebasticook Family Doctors, and St. Joseph Healthcare. Collectively for the past four years, primary care providers have shifted to a more team-based approach to care delivery that focuses on being more proactive and supporting patients living their healthiest not just caring for them when they are sick.

“When you focus on relationships with your patients and have the tools available to ensure they are getting preventive care, follow-up care, chronic condition care, and easy access to care teams, then you can really provide customized care to fit patient needs. It is both exciting and rewarding to roll up your sleeves with your peers and build a health delivery system that makes sense and improves quality of life,” Frank Bragg, MD, Beacon Health Performance Improvement Chair.

While Beacon Health is a national leader in delivering quality care that includes high patient satisfaction, there is still work to be done in other areas. The cost of care for our Pioneer patients was higher this year than what was established at the program’s start. As a result, we’ll be returning $2.6 million to Medicare. This is consistent with the risk and shared savings agreement we have in place with CMS. However, when CMS compared Beacon Health Pioneer cost to Medicare patients not in our program, we were consistently lower cost. As a result, Beacon Health is looking for opportunities to further this transformation and reduce total cost of care.

Michael Donahue, executive director of Beacon Health, says each year the model is refined while working to standardize the highest quality, best practices, across our network. “We continue to add expertise to our structure in order to offer integrated, seamless care across the continuum. We are encouraged that our patients and their families, and providers say that what we are doing is making a difference.”

The Beacon Health model of care is now being offered to more than 100,000 people across Maine.
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