Maryland systems collaborate on population health

Five Maryland-based health systems announced Monday that they will form a non-ownership alliance to strengthen their performance under the state's global budget reimbursement system. 

Members of the Advanced Health Collaborative will share best practices and explore opportunities to reduce costs by investing in care-management infrastructure, the group said. The state's new all-payer model, in which hospitals receive a predetermined reimbursement for care based on the size of the populations they serve, is a driving force for the collaboration. 

“What we're doing … is investing in care-management infrastructure,” said Robb Cohen, CEO of the new collaborative. “It gives everyone access to lower costs and best practices.”

Hospitals and health systems in several states have formed similar collaboratives in recent years hoping to achieve the benefits of sharing best practices and some level of integration without giving up their independence. Last month, for example, the Cleveland Clinic and five other Ohio providers announced they had formed an alliance. 

The Maryland alliance of relatively small systems could offer its members a chance to play on a level field with the three big, multihospital health systems in Maryland: MedStar Health, Johns Hopkins Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical System.

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