Tacoma, WA (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) - Sound Physicians, a physician-founded and led medical group with national reach and local focus, has launched Sound Long-Term Care Management (SLTCM), the group's first accountable care organization (ACO). SLTCM is a Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) Enhanced Track ACO and will concentrate on caring for Medicare beneficiaries who are residents of long-term care facilities — one of the most underserved populations in the U.S.
"Our ACO model focuses on the most vulnerable, highest acuity, and under-supported Medicare population by bringing together clinicians, facilities, data, and technology to drive quality," said Mike Camacho, President, Accountable Care, for Sound Physicians. "When we lead with quality, patient care will improve."
Officially approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the ACO launched Jan. 1.
Under the leadership of Camacho and John Dickey, MD, Chief Medical Officer of SLTCM, Sound will draw from its decade of value-based care expertise to help participating physicians and facilities improve performance. Of the 1.3 million long-term care residents in the U.S., less than 10 percent are enrolled in a population health program. The complexity, lack of access, and high cost of treating these individuals have typically left them out of the mix when it comes to population health initiatives such as ACOs.
"We're managing a very complex patient population," said Camacho, noting that preliminary data from Medicare shows the patient mortality rate at 27.25 percent, compared to the national community-based ACOs of 3.15 percent. SLTCM patients are battling septicemia, dementia, and other catastrophic diseases at a rate 11 to 15 times greater than the average Medicare ACO beneficiary. For SLTCM, working hand in hand with providers and facilities can make a significant positive impact on care for these patients.
With the cost of care per beneficiary at $35,000 annually, there's a significant opportunity to reduce the financial burden — on patients and the healthcare system overall. Sound's goal is to improve patients' quality of life and reduce costs through annual wellness visits, chronic care management, and point-of-care technology, as well as employing Sound's telemedicine solution broadly in skilled nursing facilities to help prevent avoidable admissions and readmissions by treating patients in place. Sound's telemedicine program overall has demonstrated a 96 percent success rate with treating patients at its facility versus having to admit them to the hospital.
"It really does extend Sound's vision to meet our patients who are most in need," said Dr. Dickey.
Sound's core value of innovation was a guiding force in developing the SLTCM care management model. Leveraging two decades of Sound's clinical performance process, the model will help hundreds of physicians and their facility partners achieve quality metrics with education, resources, workflows, technology, and improved care coordination. And Sound's near-real-time data reports for participating physicians will help adjust course and drive behavior changes to align toward consistently better patient care.
About Sound Physicians
We're a team of motivated clinicians practicing across hospital and emergency medicine, critical care, anesthesia, and telemedicine. For more than 22 years, our partners have benefitted from our high-performing physicians, advanced practice providers, and CRNAs innovating and leading through an ever-changing landscape — with patients at the center of our healthcare universe. Our aim is to exceed expectations when it comes to clinical and operational priorities — and how we care for patients throughout and beyond the acute care episode.
Our more than 4,000 clinicians in 400-plus hospitals across 45 states are focused locally on building programs that blend our unique training, tools, technology, and support to take better care of patients in the communities we serve.
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