Any outsider listening to the phone conversation that occurred this summer between Kelly Taylor, director of quality improvement at Mercy Clinics, Inc. in Des Moines, Iowa and Jane Price, the lead nurse for patient experience at Aneurin Bevan Health Board in Gwent, Wales, would have though they were listening to old friends exchanging stories about a shared history of palliative care nursing. Although they had never met in person, this first conversation between the two was a seamless hour long exchange of personal anecdotes, lessons learned from their work, and hope for the future of health care for those suffering from terminal disease.
The accountable care organization began life as a catchphrase signifying a shift in the relationship between a hospital and its doctors. By forming an ACO, a hospital and medical staff shared clinical and financial responsibility for coordinating care to improve quality and lower costs. The patient's role was essentially passive, like a car door that ends up with fewer dents and nicks thanks to better management of the auto assembly line.
Mercy Clinics is a subsidiary of Mercy Medical Center-Catholic Health Initiatives located in metro Des Moines, Iowa and includes over 40 primary care and specialty care clinics. All members of Mercy Medical Center strive for reverence, integrity, compassion and excellence in actively serving the unique and diverse needs of its patients. Mercy Clinics became a Foundation funded demonstration site in 2009 in order to expand upon their philosophy that it takes a proactive and prepared team to effectively provide high quality chronic care to their patients.