THR’s Chief Clinical Officer Testifies Before House Committee on ACOs

Dr. Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer of Arlington-based Texas Health Resources, testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Wednesday about the importance of value-based care models in healthcare.

“We believe that we need a value-based healthcare system where incentives for all providers can be aligned, and where healthcare providers are able to collaborate using an integrated infrastructure and transparent data on quality and utilization to deliver better outcomes for our patients,” Varga said.

As an example, Varga pointed to Southwestern Health Resources, a hospital and physician network operated by Texas Health Resources and UT Southwestern Medical Center. Southwestern Health Resources’ accountable care organization has achieved improvements in cost, quality, and patient experience for the 67,000 North Texans it serves, he said.

The Southwestern Health Resources ACO generated nearly $30 million in shared savings in 2015 and $37 million in 2016, Varga said. It did this by focusing its member physicians on incentives and metrics within the same clinical infrastructure, whether they practice independently or are employed by the hospital, he added.

The hearing by the subcommittee, which is chaired by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), was titled “MACRA and Alternative Payment Models: Developing Options for Value-based Care.” MACRA refers to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, which has helped drive the movement toward value-based healthcare models.

Varga called on Congress and the Trump administration to continue building on the progress achieved by providers in alternative payment models, and encouraged the participation of more organizations in the models.

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