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Essentia receives recertification as ACO

The Triple Aim has been the standard of care at Essentia Health since the health system first became a certified Accountable Care Organization in 2013. Now, the National Committee for Quality Assurance has re-certified Essentia as a level 3 ACO, the highest level of certification possible. Currently, only two U.S. health systems — Essentia and Minneapolis-based HealthPartners — have this certification.

“Achieving health care’s Triple Aim requires a new model of health care delivery — one that embraces preventive care and chronic disease management as paths to better health and lower costs for our patients and communities,” said Dr. Patrick Twomey, Essentia Health’s chief medical officer.

The NCQA’s review process assesses each organization’s ability to coordinate and deliver the care expected of ACOs, including:

• protecting patient rights, including privacy.

• offering easily-accessible health care.

• having a solid foundation of patient-centered primary care.

• using care coordination to manage patient populations.

• monitoring practice patterns and using performance data to improve quality.

As an ACO, Essentia leverages its electronic health record to deliver highly-coordinated, population-based care. For example, Essentia can scan the records of 500,000-plus patients to determine who may need a colonoscopy, and then reach out to those patients to schedule them for the test.