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WellPoint pulls out of ACO plans with Monarch

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 23, 2012

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Anthem Blue Cross of California, a WellPoint subsidiary, has backed out of a planned accountable care organization with Irvine, Calif.-based independent practice association Monarch HealthCare. The decision came after UnitedHealth Group subsidiary Optum took over management of Monarch in 2011.

"In light of Monarch entering into a strategic relationship with a subsidiary of a competitor, we believe it is in the best interest of our company and our customers to terminate our ACO program with Monarch," Anthem spokesman Darrel Ng said in a statement. He said Anthem still contracts with Monarch and has other planned ACOs.

In a statement, Monarch Executive Chair Jay Cohen, MD, said the group is moving ahead with its ACO plans with other health insurers. The group is one of five physician groups participating in an ACO pilot sponsored by the Brookings Institution and Dartmouth Institute Center for Health Policy & Clinical Practice. It also was one of 32 groups selected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to serve as a Medicare Pioneer ACO.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/01/23/bibf0123.htm.

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