In The News

HDMG Tests New National Patient Care Model

Starting this month, hundreds of Medicare patients throughout the Antelope Valley will have the chance to join an innovative new program directed at increasing the quality and efficiency of their healthcare.

For the next three years, High Desert Medical Group, through its affiliation with Heritage Provider Network will run the program, called the Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Model. The concept of “accountable care” is one that HDMG Founder, Dr. Richard Merkin has supported and developed at HDMG and throughout the entire HPN organization since its inception more than 30 years ago. According to Dr. Don Parazo, HDMG’s Associate Medical Director, "The Pioneer ACO is another opportunity to innovate and improve the future healthcare of the Antelope Valley."

HPN is one of only 32 organizations nationwide and six in California chosen by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), to take part in the Pioneer ACO Model. The CMS Innovation Center developed the program as part of the federal health reform law passed in 2009.

For HDMG, the program’s objective is to deliver higher quality and more efficient care to today’s Medicare beneficiaries who currently use a traditional fee-for-service program. The fee-for-service model is deemed by many in the health care industry to be inefficient, driving up the cost of care while delivering less than optimal care.

At HDMG, the program will allow hundreds of patients with traditional, fee-for-service Medicare programs to get extra support not normally paid for by Medicare. HDMG physicians see patients in both traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans, and experience has shown, patients with more coordinated care have a better understanding of their medical options and treatment plans.

In the ACO Model at HDMG, patients will also get reminded about their annual physicals, flu shots, have their vital signs monitored, and get advice about their diet, exercise and overall lifestyle that could affect their health. These are methods that HDMG has used with success to keep patients healthy and well for many years.

Fee-for-service Medicare may not cover such services, resulting in many patients missing out on key components in their healthcare, or duplicated tests as patients seek multiple specialists who may not communicate with each other. Those factors can lead to unnecessary care, and additional trips to the emergency room that could be avoided.

As the Antelope Valley’s premiere multi-specialty medical group, HDMG is in the unique position to show just how successful an ACO Model can be. By improving coordination of patient care HDMG believes it can demonstrate a more efficient, more effective method of delivering better care to Antelope Valley Medicare beneficiaries.

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