Four key challenges to reforming health care organizations can be addressed by a clinical integration model patterned after Advocate Physician Partners (APP). These challenges are: predominance of small group practices, dominant fee-for-service reimbursement methods, weaknesses of the traditional hospital medical staff structure and a need to partner with commercial insurance companies. APP has demonstrated teamwork between 3800 physicians and hospitals to improve quality, patient safety and cost-effectiveness. Building on this model, an innovative contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois serves as a prototype for a commercial Accountable Care Organization. For this contract to succeed, APP must outperform the market competition. To accomplish this, APP has implemented strategies to reduce readmissions, avoid unnecessary admissions and emergency room visits, expand primary care access, and enhance quality and patient safety.

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