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Florida Healthcare Collaborative Offers Road Map for Creating Partnerships to Contain Costs

Dr. Kavita Patel and co-authors review how collaboration in both clinical and governance areas has helped the University of Florida and Shands and Orlando Health, Inc., achieve millions in savings while giving patients better access to care.

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Plainsboro, N.J. -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/18/2013 -- From leveraging their joint buying power to better deployment of a hard-to-find pediatric liver transplant surgeon, two large healthcare systems in Florida are seeing the benefits of sharing resources on a bigger scale, according to Kavita Patel, MD, of the Brookings Institution, and her co-authors who write in the inaugural issue of The American Journal of Accountable Care.

Patel examines the early returns of a 2010 decision to collaborate in both clincial and governance realms by the University of Florida and Shands, a $2.7 billion enterprise of the University of Florida Academic Health Center and Shands Teaching Hospital and Clinics, and Orlando Health Inc., a $2 billion not-for-profit corporation. The process, which paved the way for a regional accountable care organization (ACO), showed how the these major healthcare providers were able to achieve “millions of dollars” in savings while providing better care for patients. Click here to read the article, “Collaborative Care Before Accountable Care: Achieving Low-Cost, High-Quality Care Through a Regional Collaborative in Florida.”

Geographically, the collaborative stretches from Orlando, in central Florida, all the way to Jacksonsville, on the state’s Atlantic Coast near the Georgia border. That much territory, and access to more than 3 million residents, allowed for collaboration in four major areas: clinical integration, data anlalytics, contracting and operations. As Patel writes, the clinical opportunities were pursued first; other projects came in a second phase.

For each healthcare group, collaboration demanded honesty about its own strengths and weaknesses – and trust. “An expressed intent of these programs is the transparent sharing of data to critically evaluate which system has the best program in order to learn from each other and not duplicate costly services in which regional volumes are low,” Patel writes.

But for patients, the payoffs were worth it. Success stories in clinical areas include:

Pooling manpower in pediatric orthopedics

- Letting the University of Florida and Shands run transplant services for entire region

- Extending the Florida-Shands expertise in cardiology across the system, with fellows setting up a regional heart failure program at Orlando Health.

- Using telemedicine for cardiology consults and second opinions.

- Transporting the expertise of the University of Florida’s nationally recognized addiction treatment programs to the Orlando area, including using telemedicine to triage faraway patients.

In the nonclinical areas, the immediate benefits are seen in purchasing savings in both healthcare groups, Patel writes. “Early results of supply chain analysis indicate millions in savings for both organizations,” the article states.

Patel concludes, “We believe that the innovative approach taken by the University of Florida and Shands and Orlando Health has produced not only short-term benefits for both organizations, but also a viable path for transitioning to a more accountable payment and delivery model througha formal ACO contract in the future.”


Nicole Beagin, Associate Editorial Director
(609) 716-7777 x 131

Press Release Source: AB Newswire