Heartland Rural Physician Alliance Achieves Shared Savings

Heartland Rural Physician Alliance Achieves Shared Savings in their Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield ACO for Performance Year 2017

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Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield announced the 2017 performance year results for the Heartland Rural Physician Alliance ACO that shows physicians, hospitals and health care providers participating in Accountable Care Organizations continue to make significant improvements in the quality of care for beneficiaries, while achieving cost savings.

Heartland Rural Physician Alliance Wellmark ACO generated over $720,000 in shared savings in the second year of ACO work, while improving the quality of care for beneficiaries in Heartland practices across Iowa. Heartland practices are located around Iowa, and include Guttenberg Municipal Hospital in Guttenberg, Kappos Family Medicine in Polk City, Madison County Medical Associates in Winterset, Shenandoah Medical Center in Shenandoah, and Stephen J Veit, MD PC in Cherokee.


This Iowa-based ACO was built by a group of dedicated primary care physicians and administrators, who came together to share best practices around patient-centered care, improve the health of patients and populations, reduce unnecessary health care costs, and prepare physicians and practices for success in the transition to value-based healthcare.

“We believe these results are due to the extraordinary efforts by our physicians, nurses, staff and our partnership with Wellmark,” reported Kevin de Regnier, DO, Board Vice President of Heartland Rural Physician Alliance. “These high results were achieved by our physicians working together to improve quality patient care and reduce costs.”


Heartland ACO members focus on patient-centered care and achieving better health outcomes for patients. With access to actionable, impactful data through Wellmark, Heartland members are able to provide better care to patients, while reducing the cost of the services.

“We are very pleased to report that our organization had significant and increasing shared savings in the Wellmark ACO for two years running,” indicated Don Klitgaard, MD, Heartland Board President. “Through data analysis combined with practice-level process changes, our members were able to improve the care given to their patients, reduce overall healthcare costs, and reap the benefits of being a part of the ACO.”


ACOs are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to provide coordinated, high-quality care to their patients. The goal of this high-value care is to ensure that patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors. When an ACO exceeds quality and financial thresholds – demonstrating achievement of high-quality care and wiser spending of health care dollars – it is able to share in the savings generated.


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