WellSpan Health has announced the formation of its first accountable care organization.

Partnering with Connecticut-based Aetna, the health system will join the insurer to provide higher quality care to those who purchase Aetna's insurance plans, which will be available in Central Pennsylvania on April 1, 2014, according to a news release. The partnership is Aetna's first ACO in Pennsylvania, the release said.

In an ACO, providers agree to improve quality of care and lower costs through better coordination and preventive care, and Aetna members will reap those benefits, the release said.

"Innovative relationships such as this hold much potential to improve the quality and efficiency of health care in our region," WellSpan president and CEO Dr. Kevin Mosser said in a statement.

More options: WellSpan and Aetna agreed on a set of metrics surrounding the quality and cost of health care for Aetna members, such as the percentage who get recommended preventive care and screenings; better management of patients with chronic conditions; reductions in hospital readmission rates; and reductions in avoidable emergency room visits by improving primary care access hours, the release said.

The collaboration will give employers in the area additional health care options and save employees money when they use providers aligned with WellSpan, the release said.

The collaboration is also aimed at improving community health outcomes by developing new ways for patients to reach their health goals, Mosser said.


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"At WellSpan, we have always believed that collaborations are among the most effective means to serve the needs of our communities," he said.

--Reach Mollie Durkin at mdurkin@yorkdispatch.com.