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ACOs Develop Throughout California

The following blog was written by Sara Watson, ITUP’s Regional Workgroup Manager.

Accountable care organization (ACO) pilots for California’s privately insured are being developed with major health plans, including Anthem, Blue Shield, Aetna and United, as well as payors like the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS). In 2010, CalPERS reported saving $15.5 million with its ACO pilot program that includes Blue Shield of California, Catholic Healthcare West and Hills Physicians Medical Group.

On July 1, 2011, Blue Shield of California teamed with five healthcare providers to form two more ACOs:

  • A partnership between Brown and Toland Physicians Group and California Pacific Medical Center will serve 21,000 members assigned by HHS and will include Pacific Medical Center’s four campuses: California, Davies, Pacific and St. Luke’s.
  • A partnership between Blue Shield, Hill Physicians Medical Group, Catholic Healthcare West and the University of California, San Francisco is expected to serve 5,000 members assigned by HHS and includes CHW’s Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center, and UCSF’s Parnassus and Mount Zion centers.


ACO pilots are forming in Los Angeles, where integration is being encouraged between Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), the County’s medical system and County mental health services. With the assistance of California foundations, LA’s safety net is exploring a safety net based ACOs in South Los Angeles. The California Endowment recently approved a grant of $750,000 for their development.

In northern California, John Muir Health plans to form an ACO among its hospitals in Walnut Creek and Concord and its physician network with a potential launch by July 2012.