Five Maryland-Based Health Systems Come Together to Form “Advanced Health Collaborative” - Adventist HealthCare

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Media Contact: Tom Grant

Published on February 24, 2015

Five Maryland-Based Health Systems Come Together to Form “Advanced Health Collaborative”

Alliance Allows Partners to Share Ideas and Develop Programs to Improve Health Care Quality in Maryland

Advanced Health CollaborativeBaltimore, Maryland – Five major independent Maryland-based health systems with a combined total of 10 hospitals have formalized an agreement to create the Advanced Health Collaborative, LLC, an organization that will offer its members the ability, without merger, to share ideas and explore opportunities to enhance the quality of health care, reduce costs and improve the health of people in the State of Maryland – a concept known as the “Triple Aim.”

The members are Adventist HealthCare, LifeBridge Health, Mercy Health Services, Peninsula Regional Health System and Trivergent Health Alliance, which includes Frederick Regional Health System, Meritus Health, and Western Maryland Health System.

“Because of recent changes in how Maryland hospitals are reimbursed for the care they provide, our health systems have new opportunities and challenges,” says Robb Cohen, the Collaborative’s chief executive officer. “By joining together, we plan to harness the collective strengths of our members, putting them in a stronger position to advance common interests and goals, including providing higher quality care with greater cost efficiency.”

The agreement comes as all hospital systems in Maryland move into their second year under a new global budget reimbursement system. Since January 1, 2014, Maryland hospitals have received a predetermined reimbursement that is based on the size of the populations they serve, rather than payment for each service they provide. The shift to a global budget means hospital systems now focus more on the value of care they provide while treating illness and less on patient volumes. The ultimate goal of the global budget system is for hospitals to better manage the health of the people they serve.

To achieve this goal, many hospital systems are now focusing on primary care and prevention under a new approach to health care known as “population health,” which includes using many community-based programs such as helping people to coordinate their medical care or manage their prescriptions. Hospitals may also help arrange access to behavioral treatments and a broad range of social services. By helping people in their communities stay well, health systems should reduce the number of hospital admissions and costs while continuing to develop ways to improve the quality of health care, fulfilling the goals of the Triple Aim.

“Population health and the need for improved care coordination represent a new era for Maryland health systems. As these hospitals seek to navigate these changing waters, the Collaborative will work with our members on potential projects to help them achieve these goals. Our initiatives could involve collaborations on population health and care coordination programs, and could include cost savings through shared population health and care coordination resources or services,” says Cohen.

The Collaborative also offers members a collective and collaborative voice in discussions regarding the changing health care landscape in Maryland.  It may serve as an advocate for its members in discussions with the state and federal agencies that work on policies that affect its members. It might work with other organizations (such as physician groups, long-term care providers and other stakeholders in the health care industry) to explore potential regional or statewide initiatives to meet the shared goals of population health.

A key benefit of membership will be the opportunity for shared learning and collaboration, allowing partners to manage changes in health care more efficiently and effectively than any single organization could on its own. Ideas may come from individual partners themselves or from examples of other national programs. With a unified focus on improving health for their patients and communities, the group allows members to go farther together while maintaining their independence and autonomy.

“For Maryland hospitals, the shift to the global budget system requires a whole new way of thinking and doing business, which can be both exciting and daunting,” explains Cohen. “We believe that by sharing ideas and working together, our members will be more successful in transitioning to this new model of care and achieve faster and better results. This will ultimately benefit their health systems, physicians and other care providers, but, most importantly, it will be a valuable asset for the people in Maryland.”

For more information about the Advanced Health Collaborative, go to

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