Change Healthcare and ACO Partner announced the first results of a novel Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) Shared Savings Program. High-quality providers were rewarded for progress achieving the “triple aim” of reducing costs, enhancing the patient experience, and improving population health.

A total of $148,000 was remitted to 148 physicians who participated in the program in the fourth quarter of 2016, each of whom was reimbursed an additional payment ranging from under $1,000 to over $5,000. The reimbursements represent shared savings earned through the high-quality performance by individual providers treating over 27,000 BCBSAZ commercial plan members in that quarter.

The ACO Partner program has since grown to include more than 725 providers treating over 45,000 BCBSAZ members. The next planned release of Shared Savings Program rewards will be in September and will reflect shared savings results for the 2017 program year.

“The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Shared Savings Program is a truly unique value-based collaborative,” said John Wallace, senior vice president at Change Healthcare and president and chief operating officer of ACO Partner. “This distinctive program is payer-neutral, and fosters meaningful collaboration between payers and providers with its patient-centric approach to achieving healthcare’s triple aim.”

Established in 2016, ACO Partner is an exceptional value-based care organization that is jointly operated by Change Healthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. ACO Partner contracts independent primary care providers to join the program to earn shared savings and provides them with sophisticated patient data analytics, care coordination, and provider engagement services. Unlike in traditional accountable care organizations, providers can earn rewards for value-based performance but are not charged any membership fees or service charges.

By delivering quality care to patients and decreasing avoidable costs, providers that participate in the program may earn payouts tied to shared savings. And as ACO Partner’s provider and patient pools grow, the program may help generate more savings across the healthcare system, better outcomes for a larger patient population and greater shared savings payouts to providers.

“We’re excited to partner with Change Healthcare within ACO Partner to pioneer a collaborative approach to value-based care, with a direct effect on patient health,” said Dr. Woodrow Myers, Jr., Chief Medical Officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. “The tools and support that ACO Partner offers to independent primary care providers throughout Arizona is a significant step towards enabling high-quality and efficient care, and ultimately in supporting providers in achieving success in value-based care.”