El Campo Memorial Hospital/Mid Coast Medical Clinic has announced it has joined an innovative program intended to help community members stay healthy, and navigate the complexity of the health care system when services are needed.

The new program, the National Rural Accountable Care Consortium, is tailored especially for rural areas like El Campo.

"El Campo Memorial Hospital/Mid Coast Medical Clinic has hired a Care Coordinator (Jessica Hopper) to work closely with doctors and community resources to assist these citizens to stay healthy, secure care when needed, and avoid repetitive tests. In general, we will help them navigate the complex healthcare system," said hospital CEO Tisha Zalman.

The National Rural Accountable Care Consortium creates "collaborative" Accountable Care Organizations in rural areas. This permits several health care organizations to combine to satisfy the minimum 5000 beneficiary requirement for an Accountable Care Organization to participate in the Medicare Shared Savings program.

The innovative model permits small rural facilities a cost-effective and practical way to participate in the Accountable Care Organization model, which will position the health care system for sustainability into the future.

The National Rural Accountable Care Consortium's participants include a diverse cross-section of healthcare providers across the country. These include rural and critical access hospitals, rural health clinics, federally qualified health centers and independent physician practices.

The National Rural Accountable Care Consortium has grown from nine communities in three states in 2014, to more than 30 communities in nine states in 2015, including El Campo Memorial Hospital/Mid Coast Medical Clinic, a participant in the American Rural Accountable Care Organization.

Program activities include training care coordinators to provide additional services to the most vulnerable patients, promotion of population health and wellness, and improving quality, customer service and patient satisfaction.

If you are a Medicare patient, you may hear from your primary care provider, in order to schedule a free Annual Wellness Visit (no copay), or you may receive a notice in the mail.

For more information, contact Jessica Hopper, clinic care coordinator at 979-543-5510 Ext. 325, or email at jhopper@ecmh.org.

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