posted 3/7/2013 by in News

Wellmark and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-Iowa enter into Accountable Care Organization
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-Iowa includes three hospital sites and 22 clinic locations

DES MOINES, Iowa (March 7, 2013) – Today, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa officially announced a collaboration with Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-Iowa in Waterloo to create an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). The new ACO will focus on coordinating patient care to improve quality, provide greater value, and slow increases in health care costs.

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-Iowa President and CEO Jack Dusenbery said, “This collaboration is consistent with what we believe; providing high quality patient centered care is something our patients should count on.”

In an ACO, providers assume responsibility for managing a population of patients, who are both healthy and those who are in need of care, no matter where in the system the patients receive care. Wellmark offers the providers financial rewards if they reach established quality goals and slow the rate in increase in health care spend in caring for these patients. At the same time, providers will not earn their financial incentive if their quality declines or their costs run higher than expected.

John Forsyth, Wellmark chairman and CEO said, “This ACO was created to help healthy people maintain good health and improve outcomes for our members when they need care. Wellmark is pleased to enter into this ACO agreement with Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-Iowa to improve the health care experience, and to help slow the rate of cost increases.”

The ACO will enhance Wellmark members’ care in a variety of ways:
• Work with their providers to take an active role in their health care.
• Continued freedom to see the doctors of their choice.
• Seamless customer experience when setting up an appointment, seeing multiple doctors, and receiving follow up care.
• A reduction of redundant care and services.

About Wellmark
Wellmark, Inc. ( does business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Wellmark and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, including Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc., insure or pay health benefit claims for more than 2 million members in Iowa and South Dakota. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare in Iowa
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-Iowa (WFH-Iowa) is a faith-based 511-bed; not-for-profit, comprehensive medical/surgical health care provider offering acute levels of medical care at Covenant Medical Center, Waterloo; Sartori Memorial Hospital, Cedar Falls and Mercy Hospital, Oelwein. In addition, WFH-Iowa includes Covenant Clinic (more than 130 primary care and specialty providers); Covenant Foundation, Sartori Health Care Foundation and Mercy Hospital Foundation. Areas of excellence include: cardiology, orthopedics, neurosurgery, maternity and NICU, cancer treatment, minimally invasive and Bariatric surgery. WFH-Iowa invests in the communities we serve and is committed to living out the healing ministry by providing exceptional and compassionate health care service that promotes the dignity and well-being of the people we serve.