St. Vincent and Community to dissolve partnership

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A highly touted partnership between St. Vincent Health, Community Health Network and suburban Indianapolis hospitals is coming to an end—just 18 months after it began.

The Accountable Care Consortium was envisioned as a vehicle through which the hospitals would eventually funnel all of their roughly $2.5 billion in annual contracts with health insurers and employers.

Those contracts would have been based on the ability of St. Vincent, Community and the suburban hospitals to keep patients healthy and in need of less care, especially expensive hospitalizations and surgeries. The concept is known in health care circles as “population health management.”

Simpkin Simpkin

In exchange for the savings created by population health management, insurers and employers would have steered their patients away from competing hospitals, boosting overall traffic at St. Vincent, Community and the suburban hospitals.

Indiana University Health and Franciscan Alliance—the two other major hospitals systems operating in Indianapolis—have similar efforts underway, although none has gained much traction.

The Accountable Care Consortium made progress toward being able to track patients and keep them healthy. It hired a president, Liz Simpkin, in early 2013 and built up a staff of eight.

The consortium signed up 12 employers as customers—half of which were among the hospitals that formed the consortium. Those hospitals included the 22 operated by St. Vincent, eight operated by Community and six that are part of the Suburban Health Organization.

Carmichael Carmichael

But the hospitals found that changes in the marketplace were happening at a faster pace than they anticipated—making it difficult to coordinate responses fast enough.

“This thing’s moving at a clip that we need to work on things ourselves rather than working on everything as one,” said Bryan Mills, CEO of Community Health, mentioning such changes as the launch of the Obamacare insurance exchanges and pressures from employers and the government to reduce health care spending.

“There’s so much going on and it’s very difficult for one organization to make all the changes that we need to make, and trying to do all that in concert, it’s very challenging,” said Julie Carmichael, chief strategy officer of St. Vincent Health.

accountable-care-factbox.gifMany local health care executives predicted the Accountable Care Consortium would dissolve after the participants took different approaches toward the new breed of health plans offered in the Obamacare exchanges.

Community and Suburban Health joined a “narrow network” plan created by Indianapolis-based Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. But St. Vincent rejected the Anthem plan, choosing instead to participate in an Obamacare plan operated by MDwise Inc., a health plan co-owned by St. Vincent’s archrival IU Health.

But because the decisions about the Obamacare exchange, also called the marketplace, had to be made before the consortium was fully operational, the hospitals treated the two things separately.

“We were each in a position where we needed to make an independent decision when it came to the marketplace,” Carmichael said.

The participants in the Accountable Care Consortium expect population health to become a basic feature of future contracts between hospital systems and health insurance plans. But they also acknowledged there is more work to be done before that future becomes a reality.

“There was a lot of interest in it—and a lot of education that remains to be done with employers, and between payers and their customers too,” said Simpkin, the president of the consortium.•


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I think the poster was being sarcastic and only posting or making fun of what is usually posted on here about anything being built in BR or d'town for that matter.

  2. Great news IRL fans: TURBO the IMS sanctioned movie about slugs running the Indy 500 has caught the Securities and Exchange Commission because Dreamworks had to take a $132MILLION write down...because the movie was such a flop. See, the Indy/IMS magic soiled another pair of drawers. Bwahahahahahaha! How's CARTOWN doing? HAHAHAHA...Indy is for losers.

  3. So disappointed in WIBC. This is the last straw to lose a good local morning program. I used to be able to rely on WIBC to give me good local information, news, weather and traffic on my 45 minute commute.Two incidents when I needed local, accurate information regarding severe weather were the first signs I could not now rely on WIBC. I work weekend 12 hour nights for a downtown hospital. This past winter when we had the worst snowfall in my 50 years of life, I came home on a Sunday morning, went to sleep (because I was to go back in Sunday night for another 12 hour shift), and woke up around 1 p.m. to a house with no electricity. I keep an old battery powered radio around and turned on WIBC to see what was going on with the winter storm and the roads and the power outage. Sigh. Only policital stuff. Not even a break in to update on the winter storm warning. The second weather incident occurred when I was driving home during a severe thunderstorm a few months ago. I had already gotten a call from my husband that a tornado warning was just southwest of where I had been. I turned to WIBC to find out what direction the storm was headed so I could figure out a route home, only to find Rush on the air, and again, no breaking away from this stupidity to give me information. Thank God for my phone, which gave me the warning that I was driving in an area where a tornado was seen. Thanks for nothing WIBC. Good luck to you, Steve! We need more of you and not the politics of hatred that WIBC wants to shove at us. Good thing I have Satellite radio.

  4. I read the retail roundup article and tried Burritos and Beers tonight. I'm glad I did, for the food was great. Fresh authentic Mexican food. Great seasoning on the carne asada. A must try!!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...