Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

DHMC Receives ACO Award (finish, needs picture)

In a letter dated Tuesday, December 20, 2011 from Dartmouth Pres. Jim Weinstein to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock community, DH is one of 32 sites in the country picked by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to participate in the Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) project. Receiving the ACO is significant, because these awards were only given to organizations with the experience and readiness to effectively implement innovative new models according to CMS.
The awards were announced Dec. 19th by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, in Washington, DC. Drs. Barbara Walters and John Butterly were in attendance to represent DH.
The Pioneer ACO model aims to improve care and lower costs by bringing together physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers to coordinate care for individual patients. The project expands on the very successful Physician Group Practice demonstration project that was implemented in community group practices previously.  
Through the Pioneer ACO Model, Dartmouth-Hitchcock will work with CMS to provide Medicare beneficiaries with higher quality care, while reducing growth in Medicare expenditures through enhanced care coordination.
"Providing the highest quality health care for the patients of our region, while driving cost out of the system, is critical to our goal of creating a sustainable health system" said Dartmouth-Hitchcock CEO and President James N. Weinstein, DO, MS. "The Pioneer project will allow us to continue and expand on the work we have already been doing in developing and implementing new care and payment models. We are delighted to be one of the organizations selected by CMS to participate in the Pioneer ACO Model."
Dartmouth-Hitchcock was chosen specifically by the Innovation Center to test the effectiveness of several models of payment in helping organizations make a rapid transition to higher quality care at a lower cost to Medicare.
"These Pioneer ACOs represent our nation's leaders in health systems innovation, providing highly coordinated care for patients at lower costs," said Tavenner, a Representative of CMS. "Dartmouth-Hitchcock has demonstrated significant experience in providing high quality, coordinated care, and we are excited to partner with them," Tavenner said.
Under the Pioneer ACO Model, CMS will provide incentives for participating health care providers who form an organization to coordinate care for patients. Providers who band together through this model will be required to meet quality standards based upon, among other measures, patient outcomes and care coordination among the provider team.
CMS will use robust quality measures and other criteria to reward ACOs for providing beneficiaries with a positive patient experience and better health outcomes, while also rewarding Dartmouth-Hitchcock for reducing growth in Medicare expenditures for the same patient population.
Unlike a managed care plan, Medicare beneficiaries will not be locked into a restricted panel of providers. The Pioneer ACO Model is not a health plan or managed care plan. Under the Pioneer ACO Model, beneficiaries seeing doctors participating in an ACO will maintain the ability to see any doctor or healthcare provider, as well as the full benefits associated with traditional Medicare.
  Congratulations and thanks to the many people who worked on the application for this award. Dartmouth-Hitchcock can indeed lead the nation in providing new, effective models of care delivery as part of a sustainable health system, and through their acceptance and participation in The ACO are taking strives towards more efficient, cost effective care for patients.
 For more information about the Pioneer ACO Model, visit the Pioneer ACO website at or
The Pioneer ACO Model is one of several initiatives underway at CMS designed to encourage the formation of ACOs. For more information, visit more information about the Innovation Center, visit 

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