Skip to main content

Park Nicollet Accountable Care Organization saves Medicare
about $3 million for second year

August 25, 2015

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. – August 25, 2016 – Park Nicollet’s Pioneer Accountable Care Organization met stringent goals on quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction – saving taxpayers $2.9 million in 2014. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services shares some of the total cost savings with Pioneer ACOs that meet or exceed the target measures. In 2013, the Park Nicollet Pioneer ACO also reduced medical costs by $3.1 million.

Medicare defines an ACO as a group of doctors, hospitals and other health care providers who give coordinated, high quality care to patients. Park Nicollet joined the Pioneer ACO program in 2012 and now serves about 14,000 Medicare fee-for-service patients. It is one of 19 Pioneer ACO’s in the nation and one of three in Minnesota.

“These results are especially impressive because they raise the bar even higher in Minnesota where quality and efficiency is already better than most other states,” said Steve Connelly, MD, co-executive medical director, HealthPartners and Park Nicollet.

Park Nicollet’s success is the result of multiple initiatives to prevent readmissions and avoid admissions such as:

  • Palliative care, which focuses on relieving symptoms and stress due to a serious illness, is integrated across care settings, including the intensive care unit. The palliative care team works with the patient to create a care plan which tends to be home-based rather than hospital or ER based.
  • Home visits with care consultants. Since 2012, four nurse care consultants have intensively worked with 450 of our highest risk patients. An integral part of this care is an in-home visit. The Care Consultant works with the patient to identify a care plan based on the patient’s goals, and in doing so, this results in better care, better patient engagement and a decrease in ER visits.
  • Medication reviews by a pharmacists before discharge or in the clinic
  • Follow-up doctor’s appointments which are scheduled before patients are discharged
  • Phone calls from a registered nurse 24-72 hours after discharge
  • Firefighter home visits which are offered to all patients in five cities near Methodist Hospital
  • Easier to understand discharge instructions

Next Generation ACO

Park Nicollet will soon learn if it has been selected for a new CMS program called the Next Generation ACO which will launch in 2016. This model is similar to Pioneer, but includes additional care options with greater financial risk for the ACO. For example, ACO patients will be able to receive additional covered services related to telehealth and post-discharge home visits.

Northwest Metro Alliance

In addition to the Park Nicollet Pioneer ACO, HealthPartners has another accountable care organization called the Northwest Metro Alliance. This partnership with Allina Health cares for 300,000 HealthPartners and Allina patients in the northwest metro area of Minneapolis. A recently released report shows Northwest Metro Alliance initiatives have improved in the quality of care while slowing cost increases to a rate that is about 30 percent below the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro average.

About Park Nicollet Health Services

Park Nicollet Health Services is part of HealthPartners, the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. Park Nicollet is an integrated care system that includes Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital, Park Nicollet Clinic, Park Nicollet Foundation and Park Nicollet Institute. For more information, visit

Back to top