Mostashari's ACO startup is growing

'Aledade's ACO allows doctors to focus on health, not finances'
By Bernie Monegain
10:34 AM
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Farzad Mostashari

Less than two months after raising $30 million in Series B funding, Aledade, the physician-focused company launched by former National Coordinator Farzad Mostashari, MD, is set to launch new accountable care organizations in seven states.

Mostashari, MD, started Aledade in 2014 soon after stepping down from his post as the ONC. He said then his goal in starting the company was to put doctors back at the center of healthcare, empowering them with cutting-edge technology.

[See also: Former ONC chief launches startup.]

Mostashari has applied to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to establish the new accountable care organizations beginning Jan. 1, 2016.

Aledade will establish ACOs in West Virginia, Virginia, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. The company plans to continue to add partner practices through September.

As Mostashari sees it, the ACO additions will bring Aledade's independent physician partnership model to a wider network of patients across the country – empowering primary care doctors, boosting quality of care and lowering healthcare costs.

Already, Aledade has expanded its footprint in four states with ACOs that launched in January 2015. With ACOs across 11 states, Aledade will now cover more than 80,000 Medicare beneficiaries while working with more than 100 physician practices.

Aledade's expansion comes as the U.S. healthcare system continues its rapid shift from traditional fee-for-service models towards a greater emphasis on value-based care, accelerated in part by the Affordable Care Act. Over the next several years, nearly half of the annual $3 trillion spent in the U.S. on healthcare is scheduled to move into value-based payment arrangements – such as ACOs – that reward high-quality care.

Earlier this year, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced that Medicare would shift 50 percent of Medicare reimbursements to alternative payment models by 2018, echoing a goal set by a coalition of private-sector payers. In April, a bipartisan majority in Congress voted to give doctors a 5 percent bonus for participating in alternative Medicare payment systems such as ACOs. And last month, Medicare announced it would be instituting mandatory "bundled payment" arrangements for certain procedures.

"Two months ago, we vowed to put our new funding to work by expanding our ACO partnership model to independent primary care physicians across the country," said Mostashari, in announcing the new ACO work. "Today, we are taking another step to fulfill that promise – and to deliver high-quality, value-based care to doctors and patients across the country. We've been working with practices in these states for months, and we're already seeing the power of placing independent primary care doctors at the center of their patients' care."

[See also: Mostashari startup draws $30M in second round.]

A dedicated executive director from Aledade, working in tandem with a local physician partner as medical director, will lead each ACO.  

"Aledade's ACO allows doctors to focus on health, not finances," Jennifer Brull, MD, who will serve as medical director of the Kansas ACO, said in a sttement.  "Partnering with Aledade gives us the capital, tools, and expertise to succeed in the new healthcare environment, and be rewarded for keeping patients healthy."
 
"We feel confident our knowledge of West Virginia's unique healthcare landscape will help our ACO succeed," added John Wiesendanger, CEO of the West Virginia Medical Institute – adding that the ACO would benefit from the decades of regulatory and technology expertise the Aledade team brings to the effort.

"Our physician-led ACO will be the first of its kind in West Virginia, and the changes we've made are already empowering our physicians to keep patients healthy – not simply treat them when they're sick," he said.