By linking Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., five rural health centers and 14 Vermont hospitals, care providers are creating a new model for serving 42,000 of Vermont's nearly 120,000 Medicare patients. The association, known as OneCare Vermont, aims to provide quality care, while making sure patients aren't subjected to the same costly tests over and over again.
"I think that everybody has realized that we cannot do this by ourselves, no one organization, no one group of providers can do this by ourselves," said Dr. John Butterly of Dartmouth-Hitchcock.
"What we're all about is trying to reach the goal of the highest quality, most accessible, most affordable health care possible for Vermonters," said Dr. John Brumsted of Fletcher Allen.
Over the next six months, the linked providers will begin sharing data, such as patient records. Until that's done, we don't know what the reform will look like.
"We intend to let the data take us where the opportunities for improvement are," said Todd Moore, the CEO of OneCare.
Federal health reform calls for Accountable Care Organizations. Physicians will still be reimbursed as they are today, but any annual savings over Medicare cost estimates would be split between Medicare and an ACO. The goal is to begin budgeting dollars to care for a set number of patients rather than the current "fee for service" system.
Early on, spokespeople say the new model will likely be a blend of the two.
"We're in this together, we will either succeed together or we'll fail together," Butterly said.
Health care providers say renewed emphasis on preventative medicine can improve care while lowering costs. They'll have a few years to make it work, before dollars are truly at stake.
Middlebury's Porter Medical Center is the only Vermont hospital not to take part in the statewide ACO. Spokespeople told legislators they plan to in the future, but are currently too busy with electronic medical records work to take on another challenge.
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:29 PM EST2014-03-09 02:29:17 GMT
A warning for pet owners in our region. Coyotes are on the prowl. A biologist in New Hampshire says he has received more than 10 calls recently, in the Keene, New Hampshire area, for a deer that was takenMore >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:21 PM EST2014-03-09 02:21:44 GMT
As spring approaches, many Vermont homeowners prepare to work on their houses - so they head to the Burlington Home Show. And many Vermont small business owners - with their products and services on displayMore >>
Many business owners at the Burlington Home Show say the new health care system in Vermont is helpful, but some say it's causing a real headache.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:07 PM EST2014-03-09 01:07:08 GMT
A rally at the State House in Montpelier Saturday. A passionate group of dozens of women, and men, assembled in front of the State House Saturday for the Women's March for Dignity. They were demandingMore >>
Women's March for Dignity say they are demanding lawmakers support paid sick day policies for all workers.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:19 AM EST2014-03-08 15:19:21 GMT
Armed with just two L rods, 87-year-old John Wayne Blassingame starts looking for water by asking yes or no questions. "Does it go past 20 feet, does it go past 30 feet, yah," he says. The rods crossingMore >>
A national organization based in Danville says it is providing resources to people in desperate need to find water.More >>