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Westchester Doctor Gets Nod From Obama On Healthcare Payment Expertise

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Embracing alternative payment models is paying off for Westchester Health Associates, a Katonah-based 120-physician, multi-specialty, community-based medical group. The firm, led by President and CEO Peter Mercurio, MD, and Chief Medical Officer Nancy Beran, MD, has made strong efforts to improve population health, expanding its involvement in value-based care and alternative payment models—and was recently honored for these efforts at the White House.

According to Westchester Health’s President and CEO Peter Mercurio, MD, alternative payment models allow the community-based medical practice to focus on caring for the health of its population. The firm also compensates and rewards providers for keeping the population healthy by utilizing quality medical care appropriately. 

Beran was recognized at the White House in March during an event that launched the Healthcare Payment Learning In Action Network, hosted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Center For Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). Beran was also selected to introduce President Barack Obama to the audience at the event.

Beran described how Westchester Health Associates is enthusiastically embracing alternative payment models to achieve the ambitious goals of 30 percent value-based contracting in 2016, and as much as 50 percent by 2018.  

“It is only with the partnership of both CMS and other payers that we can meet these goals,” said Beran. “Over the past five years, we have learned that implementing a new model takes a financial commitment from multiple sources, both within our group as well from the payers. There also must be a critical mass of payers aligned on the common goals of the program, so that change will be meaningful and significant in the trial population.”

She also cited ­­alignment and education of clinical and clerical staff members—everyone from the doctors to the IT department—and advanced technology as key factors in the success of Westchester Health Associate’s efforts.

“We hope that our journey over the past five years can help to serve as a model for other smaller to mid-sized practices,” added Beran. “With the help of several partners, we believe we have helped to create a blueprint for other, similar practices to use in achieving success with alternative payments.”

President Obama is introduced by Westchester Health Associates’ Nancy Beran

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