Partners HealthCare has chosen to participate in the MassHealth Accountable Care Organization (ACO) to help solve the care delivery and cost challenges associated with the state’s Medicaid program. Partners will join a select group of organizations in the biggest restructuring of the MassHealth Medicaid program in twenty years. Similar to federal ACO programs, the MassHealth ACO aims to move from a fee-for-service model, where providers are paid for each service, to an accountable care model where care is better coordinated and physicians are rewarded for providing high quality care while keeping costs under a target. As a MassHealth ACO, Partners will provide coverage to more than 100,000 MassHealth patients across the Partners system.

Since December 2016, Partners has been one of six organizations participating in the MassHealth ACO pilot program. Over the past nine months, Partners has built out existing population health programs in care management, behavioral health, and substance use disorders and expanded the role of community health workers, social workers, and recovery coaches to provide more tailored and individualized care to MassHealth patients. The full-scale ACO program, called Partners HealthCare Choice, is scheduled for launch in March 2018 and will expand upon these services.

We have a great foundation to build upon and are starting to focus our efforts on addressing social determinants of health and other creative solutions to meet patients where they are, whether that is in the home, the community, or the emergency department.

Eric Weil, MD Chief Medical Officer for Primary Care, Partners Center for Population Health, and lead of Partners’ MassHealth ACO pilot

Partners HealthCare Choice will implement a universal screening program for social determinants of health and a new emergency department navigator program that better connects patients with their primary care physicians, social services, and other population health programs. Other services will focus on connecting patients with significant behavioral health illnesses to community-based behavioral health agencies that aim to treat patients where they are, in their own communities. 

“One of the benefits of the ACO program is the opportunity to better collaborate with the state and community agencies to further improve the care we deliver to our MassHealth patients -- especially patients with complex illnesses and sociomedical complications,” said Dr. Weil. “For patients who need it the most, we are implementing additional high-touch services provided by physicians or nurse practitioners in the patient’s home. More importantly, our providers look forward to the opportunity to innovate in how we deliver care to our Medicaid patients in the communities we serve.”

Find more information about Partners HealthCare Choice.