By Joe Damore
In 2010, the Charlotte, N.C.-based Premier Health Alliance created two working groups to assist its hospital and health system member organizations to prepare to participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program for accountable care organizations (ACOs), one of the voluntary programs created by the Affordable Care Act (healthcare reform) in 2010. As Premier’s website explains, the ACO Implementation Collaborative is designed to help Premier member organizations “pursue ACOs for patients today, leveraging existing payer partnerships and a tightly aligned, engaged physician network.” Meanwhile, “The ACO Readiness Collaborative is designed for health systems that must first develop the organization, skills, team and operational capabilities necessary to become ACOs and ultimately joint the Implementation Collaborative. Altogether, nearly two dozen health systems, representing several dozen hospitals, are already actively participating in the collaborative.
One of the key Premier executives involved in helping the organization’s hospital and health system member organizations to prepare for ACO development has been Joe Damore, whose title is vice president for the implementation collaborative. Damore, who spent about 30 years in healthcare management, as a senior executive in numerous hospitals and health systems nationwide, joined Premier in January 2011, and has been deeply involved in ACO development support there ever since. Damore will be addressing these issues in an educational session at HIMSS12 in Las Vegas on Feb. 20 (“A Capability Framework For Accountable Care”).
Damore spoke recently with HCI Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland regarding his leadership in this area and the lessons being learned about accountable care work in the collaborative and across Premier to date. Below are excerpts from that interview.
Tell us a bit about how your professional background dovetailed with the needs you are now addressing at Premier?
I’ve spent about 30 years in management, first, with several different hospitals and health systems, and including about 20 years as a CEO. My philosophy was, I tried to build integrated health systems. The model that I thought was the most logical model was creating regional integrated health systems, and I went to Greenville Hospital System in Greenville, South Carolina, because Bob Toomey was trying to build integrated care there; that’s what I did at several different organizations, in fact. Now at Premier, I get to work with really progressive organizations, to manage, measure, and improve the health of populations all across the country. I get to work with organizations like Fairview in Minneapolis, Presbyterian in Albuquerque, Banner Health in Phoenix, and AtlantiCare in Atlantic City, New Jersey, WellStar [Health System] in Atlanta, and Baystate Health in Springfield, Mass. Those are members of our collaborative, and I would rank those among the most progressive organizations in the country. I visited at least 40 organizations across the country the last year.
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Healthcare Industry Expert Joe Damore of Premier Is Helping Hospitals and Health Systems Move Forward on ACO Development