State Roundup: Texas, Ga. Companies Forming ACOs

A selection of health policy news from New York, Texas, California and Georgia.

CBS (Video): Thousands Search For Doctors After Texas Planned Parenthood Ban Upheld
College student Emily Howell depended on her local Planned Parenthood clinic. Now, she and nearly 50,000 other Texas women will have to find a new place to get free breast cancer screenings, pap smears and birth control. ... Texas' revamped program began this January, with a website designed to help women choose from participating doctors or clinics. When CBS News randomly selected 25 in the Austin area and called, they found just four were participating in the program. Fifteen didn't offer women's health services at all (Werner, 1/14).

Modern Healthcare: NYC System Unveils P4P Plan; Doc Union Wary
Just months after the CMS launched its value-based purchasing program, the nation's largest public hospital system has announced its own pay-for-performance project, which will tie physician bonus payments to patient-satisfaction scores, readmission rates and other metrics.  Fourteen-hospital New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. said the program will award up to a total of $59 million in incentives over three years to its 3,500 affiliated physicians (McKinney, 1/14).

Georgia Health News: Emory, Blue Cross Exploring Possible Alliance
Emory Healthcare has entered talks with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia on creating an initiative aimed at improving quality of care and reducing health costs. Few details were given in a press release Monday announcing the talks, but there was immediate speculation that the two organizations will form an "accountable care organization." ACOs are medical networks that seek to improve patient care and contain costs (Miller, 1/14).

Modern Healthcare: Texas Health Resources, Blues Announce ACO Talks
Texas Health Resources, Arlington, Texas, and insurer Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas announced talks to form an accountable care organization.  Ronald Long, chief financial officer and executive vice president of resource development and deployment for the 13-hospital system, said a final agreement is expected in July and the newly formed ACO would launch Jan. 1, 2014.  Long said details such as cost-saving targets have yet to be finalized, but the agreement will tie performance payments to quality and cost controls (Evans, 1/14).

The Associated Press: SF Pizza Chain Settles Health Care Complaint
A San Francisco restaurant chain has agreed to spend $320,000 to settle a complaint alleging it collected a surcharge from customers for the city's health care law but did not use most of the money for its intended purpose, officials said. Patxi's Chicago Pizza agreed to the settlement after an investigation by the San Francisco city attorney's office and the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, City Attorney Dennis Herrera said (1/15).

California Healthline: Online Game Asks Players To Design Hospital Of The Future
When officials at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto laid the groundwork for their first health care crowdsourcing game for the general public, they expected to get 200 or 300 players. More than twice that many logged in to play Future of the Hospital last week. … The hospital game is one of several "collaborative forecasting" games designed for the Institute for the Future's online Foresight Engine. The goal is to tap into collective multidisciplinary expertise to encourage and steer change (Lauer, 1/14).

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