Essentia Health is now the only health system in the country to earn Level 3 Accountable Care Organization, or ACO, re-certification — the highest level of certification.
According to a news release, this is Essentia’s third certification, awarded through the National Committee for Quality Assurance, or NCQA. Re-certification occurs every three years.
This accreditation helps health care organizations demonstrate their ability to improve quality, reduce costs and coordinate patient care. It ensures that patients are at the center of decisions Essentia Health caregivers make and determines how services are provided, the release said.
As part of the Level 3 ACO accreditation, Essentia Health must monitor patient experience and up to 40 measures of clinical quality and cost, collect and report on these measures and show improvement or strong performance on these measures. Requirements include having the necessary infrastructure and leadership to move the system toward the triple aim of better health, lower costs and better patient experiences; providing access to needed providers; practicing patient-centered care; supporting care-management activities; facilitating care coordination and transitions; making patients aware of rights and responsibilities; and reporting performance and quality improvement.
“Patients know that we continue to focus on their care and make sure they are getting the right care at the right time at the right place,” said Debbie Welle-Powell, Essentia Health’s chief population health officer in Accountable Care. “The whole program is comprehensive. We continue to improve and build on our care and what we know for patient-centeredness.”