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San Diego Sharp Will Participate In National Medicare Experiment

Aired 12/19/11 on KPBS News.

Sharp HealthCare will provide Medicare services to nearly 32,000 San Diego seniors through a new model.

— Sharp HealthCare has been selected to take part in a pilot project designed to deliver better care to Medicare patients.

Sharp is one of 32 healthcare groups nationwide that will test out a new model.

The new project will provide care through what are called accountable care organizations, or ACOs. These are networks of doctors and hospitals that are charged with coordinating all aspects of a person's care.

The Sharp ACO will serve nearly 32,000 people on Medicare in San Diego.

Sharp President Mike Murphy said the ACO will manage care more efficiently.

"So that you can reduce duplication of testing, that you can coordinate the care before patients need to be hospitalized," Murphy said. "When patients are discharged from hospitals, that we would be coordinating that care in a more uniform way."

ACOs are part of the landscape under healthcare reform. Their goal is to deliver better quality and lower costs.

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