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Continued: July 17: Lower costs elude hospitals

Krueger attributed his group’s performance to cost-control measures that were in place before Bellin-ThedaCare joined the CMS project. He especially credited an emphasis on outcome-based payments built into the contracts with care providers, or “payment for value vs. volume.”

The concept that Bellin-Theda­Care tried to drive home was that primary-care physicians and specialists have to depend on one another for success. The message came through by tying payments in part to what kind of experience patients felt they had when they visited the doctor. It also came from hard metrics like hospital readmissions. “What we thought the [pioneer ACO] program could do for our patients is coming true,” Krueger said. “This dream of high-quality care and lower costs can happen.”

jackie.crosby@startribune.com • 612-673-7335

jim.spencer@startribune.com • 1-202-383-6123

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