Accountable Care Organization

Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are groups of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers who come together voluntarily to give coordinated, high-quality care to their patients.

UnityPoint Accountable Care, L.C. (ACO)


The goal of accountable care is to provide the right care, at the right time, in the right setting.


Coordinated care ensures patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors.

When an ACO succeeds in delivering high-quality care and spending healthcare dollars more wisely, it may share in potential savings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Composition of UnityPoint Accountable Care

 

Iowa Health Accountable Care, L.C., d/b/a UnityPoint Accountable Care, L.C., is an Iowa limited liability company that brings together a diverse group of healthcare providers, including hospitals, physicians and home health entities.

How does an ACO Improve Patient Care?

Coordinated Communication
ACOs are a way for doctors and facilities independent from each other to come together to deliver coordinated care for patients. Patients benefit, because it means their primary care doctor, specialist and, if they’re receiving inpatient care, and hospitalist are all on the same page as care is provided. It gives these clinicians and hospitals a better way to communicate, follow up and provide safe care – all with the goal of keeping a patient healthier.
Lowering the Cost of Care
Another benefit for patients is increased price transparency. Previously, clinicians had little or no insight into the costs of medications. As a result, medical procedures and other healthcare costs became a leading cause of bankruptcy for American families. ACOs seek to help clinicians and patients become better equipped with the information and resources needed to get the right care in the right place and avoid costly, unnecessary care. Patients in an ACO will notice their clinicians discuss the affordability of their medications and work with them to make better decisions about their healthcare dollars.
Better Preventative Healthcare
Clinicians in ACOs recognize that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" and have greater time to focus on preventative health. Preventing and identifying diseases early provides greater opportunities for curative treatment, allowing your doctors to help manage small problems before they become big ones. Patients in an ACO will find their doctors use evidence-based preventative medicine guidelines. They’ll spend time with patients with a focus on maintaining or regaining their health, not just treating them when they become sick.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does this ACO program require me to change my physician?
No. If your doctor participates in an ACO, you can see any healthcare provider who accepts Medicare. Nobody - not your doctor, not your hospital - can tell you who you must see.
How do I know if my doctor is in an ACO?

If your doctor is in an ACO, you’ll receive a letter with further information/instructions. You may also click below to view a list of ACO health care participants.

What should I expect if my doctor is in an ACO?

Over time, if you see a doctor participating in an ACO, you may notice:

  • The healthcare providers you see all know what’s going on with your health, because they communicate with each other. You don't need to have the same medical tests repeated because your results are shared among your healthcare team. The providers participating in the ACO will be your partner in making care decisions.
  • Some ACOs may hire people to help check on your care. They may call you after an appointment or a procedure to make sure you understand how to take your medicines or schedule follow-up visits. They’ll also share information with your doctor to make sure you get the right care.
What will not change because my doctor is part of an ACO?
What you pay, your benefits or the cost of your coverage should not increase. Your right to choose any hospital or doctor that accepts Medicare, at any time, will not change even if that hospital or doctor is not part of an ACO.
How will an ACO lead to better care for me?

When your healthcare providers have access to your health information and may share that information with one another, they can give you better, more coordinated care. Each of your healthcare providers will not only know about the health issues they’ve treated, but also have a more complete picture of your health by communicating with your other healthcare providers.

If your healthcare providers are participating in an ACO, over time, you should see better more coordinated health care with you at the center and your satisfaction a goal of the ACO.

Is an ACO a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), managed care or an insurance company?
No. An ACO is a group of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers who work together to provide you with better, more coordinated care. Doctors and hospitals in an ACO communicate with you and each other to make sure you get the care you need when you’re sick, and the support you need to stay healthy and well.

An ACO isn't an HMO, managed care or insurance company. Unlike HMOs, managed care, or some insurance plans, an ACO can't tell you which healthcare providers to see and can't change your benefits.
The letter I received (will receive) said my medical information would be shared with providers. Who can read my medical information, and will it be protected?
The group of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers working together in the ACO can read your medical records along with other office staff authorized to help coordinate your care.

The privacy and security of your medical information is protected by Federal law. Call (800) MEDICARE (800 633-4227) 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. TTY users should call (877) 486-2048.
Can I choose not to share my medical information?
Your privacy is very important to us, so you may choose to have your name and other personal information removed from the information Medicare shares with your doctor.
Where can I find more information about ACOs and UnityPoint Accountable Care, L.C.'s participation in the program?

For more information about ACOs, you can refer to the following resources:

What follow-up will I be receiving from this program?
Medicare also regularly follows up with people with Medicare to ask about your experiences as a patient of a doctor participating in a Medicare ACO. As time gets closer, you’ll get a letter to let you know the survey is genuine. Medicare will use your feedback to help make sure you get high-quality care.
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Join Our ACO

If you are interested in learning more about UnityPoint Accountable Care, please send us your contact information. One of our Regional Directors will respond to you.

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Compliance

UnityPoint Accountable Care, L.C. (UAC) has adopted the UnityPoint Health Compliance Program. UnityPoint Health has devoted substantial resources to compliance activities. Since 1997, when the UnityPoint Health (formerly Iowa Health System) Board of Directors adopted the current Compliance Program, the organization and the Compliance Committee have developed over 150 Compliance Policies, many of which will be applicable to UnityPoint Accountable Care, L.C. In addition, the UnityPoint Health Law Department has been advising the UnityPoint Accountable Care, L.C. Board on compliance matters since the inception of the Iowa Health Accountable Care, L.C.

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Conflict of Interest

The UnityPoint Accountable Care, L.C. Board of Managers has adopted the Policy I.CE.03(a) Conflict of Interest for the purpose of setting forth organizational beliefs and policy with respect to conflicts of interest; identifying those corporate entities and individuals subject to certain requirements under the policy; and explaining the requirements and activities associated with identifying and ethically resolving conflicts of interest on the part of individuals affiliated with the organization. Disclosure Questionnaires will be completed annually by individuals subject to disclosure requirements under this policy, the Internal Revenue Code, or Medicare/Medicaid program regulations.

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Compliance Helpline

UnityPoint Health has established a Corporate Compliance Helpline with two options for reporting. This 24-hour toll-free helpline was established as a reporting mechanism whereby employees, medical staff, ACO participants, ACO providers/supplies, business partners and others associated with UnityPoint Health can report suspected violations and noncompliance issues without fear of retribution or retaliation. Some federal laws impose strict criminal penalties upon entities or persons who illegally retaliate against those who, in good faith, report wrongdoing. UnityPoint Health does not permit retaliation against anyone who, in good faith, reports suspected wrongdoing.

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Patient Resources

For more information about the CMS ACO Models, you may visit the following sites:

Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Medicare
(800) MEDICARE (800-633-4227)
24 hours a day / 7 days a week
TTY users should call (877) 486-2048

Our Address

1776 West Lakes Parkway, Suite 400
West Des Moines, Iowa
50266-8239

Hours of Operation:
7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Contact Us

UnityPoint Accountable Care, L.C.
Steve Palmersheim, ACO Chief Executive Officer

1776 West Lakes Parkway, Suite 400
West Des Moines, IA 50266

(319) 330-5719
E-Mail: Steven.Palmersheim@unitypoint.org