Mass. Hospital-Doctor Group Still Seeks To Fulfill Premiums Pledge

Partners HealthCare System vowed to pay $40 million to help reduce insurance costs for small businesses, the Boston Globe reports. Also, California group announces plans for an ACO and Minnesota Public Radio examines how cost cutting efforts will affect health care.

The Boston Globe: Partners Plan Puts A Model For Cost Controls To Test
As Massachusetts lawmakers consider tougher measures to curb rising health care costs, a 15-month-old money-saving promise by the state's largest hospital-and-physicians' group looms as a test of whether premium-rate relief is feasible. Partners HealthCare System Inc. has yet to make good on the pledge it made in April of last year to pay $40 million to help reduce health insurance premiums for small businesses. Its executives say Partners hopes to do so in the next few months -- not by writing a check, but by renegotiating existing contracts with insurers (Weisman, 7/31). 

Modern Healthcare: Blue Shield Of Calif., St. Joseph Plan ACO
St. Joseph Health System, Orange, Calif., and Blue Shield of California, San Francisco, have announced a collaboration to set up an accountable care organization involving 30,000 Blue Shield HMO members in Orange County, according to a Blue Shield news release. The ACO, to be launched Jan. 1, 2012, will involve St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, Mission Hospital, with campuses in Mission Viejo and Laguna Beach, and the St. Joseph Home Health Ministry, as well as three affiliated physician networks and three medical groups, the statement said (Conn, 7/29). 

Minnesota Public Radio: Health Care Providers Weigh Changes With New HHS Budget
With a new state health and human services budget, it's clear that health plans, hospitals and providers will have less money to serve their patients with publicly-subsidized insurance. What's unclear is how the budget substantially changes the way health care is delivered (Benson, 7/29). 

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