Steward, Nashoba Valley sign on to MassHealth ACONovember 20, 2017Original article
Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer and Steward Health Care Network have joined forces to form a MassHealth accountable care organization (ACO), a program designed by the Baker Administration to improve efficiency and quality within the state Medicaid According to a statement from Boston-based Steward on Monday, hundreds of physicians within the Nashoba Valley region will participate in the Steward Health Choice plan, which is tailored to better serve MassHealth patients, Steward said.
Steward is among several providers to sign on to the ACO program, which will be effective on March 1. Dr. Mark Girard, president of Steward Health Care Network, noted such ACO programs have been limited, so far, to patients covered by Medicare or commercial insurance plans.
The MassHealth ACOs mark a transition for MassHealth, which has, until now, paid providers based on a fee-for-service model. ACOs, meanwhile, pay providers a certain amount to care for a group of patients, which proponents say encourages them to deliver care in an efficient and effective manner.
Girard called ACOs a superior form of health coverage.
Steward owns Nashoba Valley Medical Center, which includes a physician group, as well as the Central Massachusetts Independent Physician Association.