Employees and retirees of the University of Texas System in North Texas will now have access to a new medical plan through Southwestern Health Resources, the accountable care organization formed by UT Southwestern and Texas Health Resources.
More than 4,000 people have enrolled in the medical benefit option, named UT CONNECT, since it opened September. This is the first time the UT system has offered a program based on the ACO model of care, where providers collaborate and have payments tied to quality of care rather than fee for service.
The UT system in the area, which include UT Arlington, UT Dallas, and UT Southwestern Medical Center, will join the more than 500,000 North Texans who are in the ACO’s network, which has 4,000 physicians and caregivers. ACOs are designed to coordinate care and give patients a medical home with access to a primary care physician who can help prevent more costly medical costs. Results have been mixed on whether or not ACOs can actually bring costs down for patients.
“As one of the largest employers in the state of Texas, our organization is consistently challenged to provide outstanding medical benefits, while determining new ways to rein in health care costs. By partnering with Southwestern Health Resources to develop UT CONNECT, we are leading an exciting strategy to accomplish both,” said Laura Chambers, Executive Director of Office of Employee Benefits, the University of Texas System via release. “We also know employees are looking for value. Most plans reduce benefit levels to achieve savings. That was not the case with UT CONNECT. We were able to offer the same core benefits, along with services to help employees and their families navigate the health care system better – while providing opportunities to save on out-of-pocket expenses, such as copays and deductibles.”
“By co-creating this alternative with the UT System, we are showcasing our capabilities to deliver care that’s better coordinated and designed to advance quality. It’s also personal. We are now serving our colleagues, who are our co-workers and family members through UT CONNECT,” said Marinan Williams, Senior Executive Officer, Market Relations, Southwestern Health Resources via release.