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March 20 lecture will address this accelerating trend

Experts predict more and more physicians will leap onto the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) bandwagon in coming years. This prognostication follows a recent announcement from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that 106 new ACOs are participating in the 2013 Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) cycle, bringing the total count of MSSP ACOs to more than 250. The traditional MSSP has 215 ACOs, while the Advance Payment Program has 35.

As a service to members, the Chicago Medical Society is hosting a CME event for physicians and practice managers who want to learn more about the challenges and benefits of the new ACO model. Attorney Terrell J. Isselhard will discuss these points and more at the Chicago Marriott Downtown on March 20. (6:00-6:30 p.m., Registration/Check-in; 6:30-7:30 p.m., Lecture; Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, 540 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Up to 1.0 CME credit; $25 (commitment fee) for CMS members or staff; $45 per person non-members and staff. To RSVP, please visit:, or contact Elvia Medrano at or call 312-670-2550, ext.338.

Mr. Isselhard, a principal of Chuhak & Tecson, PC, and longtime health care attorney, frequently advises physicians on the legal aspects of ACOs. Beyond giving a simple overview, Mr. Isselhard guides participants on identifying and even reaping the direct and indirect benefits, while explaining to them how the ACO model would actually function with their medical practice. His presentation includes a review of the long-term strategic planning and decision-making processes necessary for implementation of an ACO.

Half of all ACOs are physician-led, serving fewer than 10,000 patients, and include a diverse cross-section of physician practices across the country. Approximately 20% of ACOs involve community health centers, rural health centers, and critical access hospitals that serve low-income and rural communities.

Locally, Medicare awarded contracts to Advocate Physician Partners, a physicians group associated with Oak Brook-based Advocate Health Care Network, and Chicago Health System ACO LLC, which is part of Vanguard Health Systems.

Three more Chicago-based groups were recently granted contracts to operate Medicare ACOs: Alexian Brothers ACO, which is associated with the hospital system of the same name based in Arlington Heights; Independent Physicians ACO of Chicago; and Medicare Value Partners, which will be operated by Chicago-based Presence Health, the 12-hospital system formed by the 2011 merger of Resurrection Health Care Corp. and Provena Health.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has established 33 quality measures on care coordination and patient safety, appropriate use of preventive health services, and improved care for at-risk populations, among others. These quality standards are designed to ensure that savings are achieved through seamless, safe, appropriate, and timely care.

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