The Network partnered with 15 Federally Qualified Health Centers to provide coordinated care for Medicare patients by establishing an Accountable Care Organization. This month, the ACO received federal approval to participate in a Medicare Shared Savings Program, which incentivizes providers to focus on patients’ health outcomes and cost reductions. This approach ultimately results in better health outcomes delivered at lower costs by prioritizing disease prevention and effective health screenings.

February 7, 2024 (Portland, Oregon) – This month, the Oregon Network of Community Health Centers (the Network) earned federal approval for the organization’s Accountable Care Organization (ACO) to participate in a Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP).

The Network and its ACO affiliates serve just under 9,000 Medicare patients with essential primary, dental, and behavioral health care. The Network’s ACO members are Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) who face a multitude of challenges in balancing their operating budgets as they provide care to any patient, regardless of a person’s ability to pay or their insurance type. These constraints often inspire FQHCs to innovate new practices that make the delivery of health services more effective and more efficient.

The Network ACO’s federal approval for the MSSP is part of the organization’s larger plan to advance health equity for patients in Oregon. First, the Network purchased a license for the Arcadia data platform through grant funds from CareOregon. The platform facilitates the aggregation of patient information to ultimately provide health centers with analytics to guide their clinical quality improvement efforts.

Next, the Network formed the ACO with participating FQHCs. “The formation of the Network ACO ensures that we can provide patients with the right care, at the right time for improved outcomes and interactions with healthcare,” said Network Director Carla Jones. “This is possible through case management, an emphasis on data performance, a strong focus on prevention, and through sharing best practices with each other. Additionally, an ACO avoids unnecessary duplication of services and prevents medical errors.”

The MSSP is another big step towards substantial cost savings, leading to upside earnings in the shared risk agreement with Medicare. “These savings allow clinics to provide patients with the best care possible,” said Jones.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) website explains, “When an ACO succeeds both in delivering high-quality care and spending health care dollars more wisely, the ACO will share in the savings it achieves for the MSSP. ACO formation also creates additional earning opportunities within the Medicare Fee for Service populations.”

This project is emblematic of the Network’s core mission to bring together the experience and expertise of many health centers, thereby expanding collective power and increasing operational efficiency while also improving the quality of care for patients.

The Network’s ACO members include:

  • Adapt Integrated Health Care
  • Asher Community Health Center
  • Aviva Health
  • Clackamas County Health Centers
  • Coast Community Health Center
  • Columbia River Health
  • Klamath Health Partnership
  • Nehalem Bay Health Center
  • Neighborhood Health Center
  • Outside In
  • Rogue Community Health
  • Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center
  • Wallace Community Health
  • Waterfall Community Health Center
  • Winding Waters Community Health Center

For more information about the project, please contact Network Director Carla Jones,

About the Network 

The Oregon Network of Community Health Centers (The Network) is a single member LLC subsidiary of the Oregon Primary Care Association (OPCA). The Network was created in 2020 by its member health centers as a self-governing clinically integrated network of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Look-alikes. 

The Oregon Network enables health centers from diverse communities from all over the state to contract together with Coordinated Care Organizations, commercial payors, Medicare, Medicaid, and other health care and social service stakeholders, to provide the best care possible for our patients. We collaborate, share resources, develop joint strategies, and focus on payment systems that reward good patient care.