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Walgreens Severs Ties with Medicare ACOs

December 31, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints
Walgreens, the Deerfield, Ill.-based national chain of pharmacies, is cutting ties with two Medicare Shared Savings accountable care organizations (ACOs) due to finances less than two years after joining them. 
According to a report from ACO Business News, Walgreens is completely ending its relationship with Marlton, N.J.-based Advocate, a multi-specialty physician group and refocusing its relationship with Baylor Scott & White, a Dallas, Texas-based health system. Both provider organizations' ACOs struggled financially in the Shared Savings Program, with Advocate's beneficiaries seeing a rise in health costs and Baylor, Scott & White not posting any savings. 
Walgreens will continue working with Baylor Scott & White on a number of other joint clinical initiatives, the company told ACO Business News. It is completely cutting ties with Advocate. It will also seek new partnerships with provider organizations. 
The news comes at a tumultuous time for the Medicare's programs, even with 89 ACOs recently joining the Shared Savings program. Multiple ACOs dropped out of the Pioneer ACO program due to finances this past year. New rules published in December by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Savings aim to make it easier for ACOs to take on two-sided risk. 

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