Medicare Advantage insurer MeridianCare has entered into a value-based contract with Oak Street Health, a Chicago-based network of 19 primary-care clinics serving the Medicare population.
The partnership will allow MeridianCare patients to seek in-network care from Oak Street’s clinics that tailor services to meet seniors’ needs. Oak Street will be held financially accountable for the primary care of its Medicare Advantage and dual-eligible patients enrolled in MeridianCare plans. An Oak Street spokeswoman declined to provide further details on the contract.
“This partnership is an extension of our mission to put care above all else,” said MeridianCare Vice President Shawn Holt. He said both organizations share close values, including “spending more time with the patient—not less—and getting to the root cause of a patient’s illness,” he said.
MeridianCare is the Medicare arm of Meridian, a Detroit-based for-profit provider of government health insurance that also offers Medicaid, public health insurance exchange coverage, and pharmacy benefit services. MeridianCare sells plans to just under 18,000 people in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio, including more than 7,500 in Illinois alone.
Oak Street delivers primary care to 25,000 Medicare patients and promises minimal wait times, door-to-door transportation, and group classes and seminars. Each patient has a care team that includes a doctor, nurse, medical assistant and scribe, so the clinicians can spend more time interacting with the patient and less time glued to the computer. It focuses on offering care in underserved areas, and will open its 20th clinic in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago in the spring.
Oak Street is also financially at risk for each of its patients, and has similar partnerships with five other insurers, including Humana and Wellcare Health Plans.
The U.S. is in the middle of a major push for quality over quantity for healthcare services. While a new federal administration is poised to disrupt much of the healthcare landscape, observers expect the shift toward value-based care to continue as a way to handle rising healthcare costs.