Blue Shield of California and Walnut Creek-based John Muir Health said Wednesday they're launching an accountable care organization or ACO to provide integrated health care to 16,000 Blue Shield HMO enrollees in Contra Costa County.
About 6,600 of those enrollees are members of the California Public Employees' Retirement System or CalPERs, the partners said May 30.
The new initiative is expected to start July 1 and continue for "a minimum" of three years, and to hold costs to zero in year one and to "single digit" increases in the following two years by providing better coordination and integration of care.
The effort "is well aligned with our efforts to reduce costs, enhance quality and increase access," Mitchell Zack, John Muir's vice president of employer and payor relations, said in the statement.
Blue Shield said this is its seventh such initiative in the Golden State, where it now has 100,000 enrollees in ACO pilots in Sacramento, San Francisco, the Central Valley and Orange County.
Muir, led by CEO Cal Knight, has John Muir Medical Centers in Walnut Creek and Concord, and a growing network of affiliated physicians. But the system, which has little nearby competition, hasn't exactly been known for low costs, so the ACO experiment will be an interesting one.