The University of Iowa Health Alliance (UIHA) and UnitedHealthcare are launching an accountable care program that promotes a team approach to health care and improves quality, lowers costs and enhances the coordination of people’s care.

This new accountable care relationship enables UIHA’s health care organizations, including University of Iowa Health Care, Genesis Health System, Mercy-Cedar Rapids and Great River Health Systems, to treat patients using an innovative value-based model focused on keeping people healthy. UnitedHealthcare shares data with UIHA to inform doctors of patients’ underlying medical conditions, past treatments, gaps in care, medications prescribed and future care needs. This takes the burden off patients from having to connect information from each of their doctor’s visits themselves, and reduces duplicative tests and improves care coordination across specialties and care settings.

Through this initiative, UIHA and UnitedHealthcare are able to identify clear, actionable information specific to individual patients’ health needs. This collaboration also improves the ability to identify patients at high risk and help them reduce emergency room visits and readmissions to the hospital, manage their chronic health conditions and take their needed medications.

“Our multispecialty physician leadership and population health analytics have given participating UIHA practices the ability to increase quality and efficiency while reducing redundancy and health care costs,” said Jennifer Vermeer, CEO, University of Iowa Health Alliance. “We are enhancing care coordination across care settings, and our new accountable care relationship with UnitedHealthcare enables our health care organizations to provide improved care to more patients in our community.”

More than 5,000 people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Advantage health plans are eligible to benefit from this collaboration.

“UnitedHealthcare and University of Iowa Health Alliance are mutually committed to improving the quality and cost of health care,” said Chad Pendleton, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement of Iowa. “By working more collaboratively with local care providers and creating a more connected health care experience, we can help improve patient care and enhance people’s ability to live healthier lives.”

More than 15 million people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare plans across the country have access to accountable care programs, delivered in part through more than 800 accountable care arrangements nationwide as the organization engages in deeper, more collaborative relationships with physicians and hospitals.

Care providers nationwide are showing strong interest in a shift to value-based care. UnitedHealthcare’s total payments to physicians and hospitals that are tied to value-based arrangements have tripled in the last three years to more than $54 billion. By the end of 2018, UnitedHealthcare expects that figure to reach $65 billion.

For more information about UnitedHealthcare’s changing relationships with care providers and how value-based programs are helping to improve quality and people’s health, visit and download the Value-based Care Report.

IOWA CITY, IOWA – University of Iowa Health Alliance (UIHA) is one of 12 founding members of a new national organization aimed at achieving better patient outcomes and decreasing health care costs.

Strategic Regional Healthcare Organizations (SRHO) enhance integration and collaboration among regional health care alliances and partnerships. SRHO will be a key resource for a growing number of health care organizations opting for alternative ways to work together while maintaining independence as they navigate the changing landscape of health care delivery.

SRHO creates an opportunity to pursue collective efforts in payor contracting, to work together on population health and cost reduction, and participate in the development of new businesses, initiatives and advocacy at the national level. SRHO will give UIHA a platform to be at the forefront of these discussions as many health care organizations come together to share experiences, successes, challenges and best practices.

University of Iowa Health Alliance is working to transform health care by improving the quality of care for patients while reducing the overall cost of care. UIHA consists of four major health care organizations in Iowa: University of Iowa Health Care, Genesis Health System, Mercy-Cedar Rapids and Great River Health Systems.

Jennifer Vermeer, CEO of University of Iowa Health Alliance, says “Strategic Regional Healthcare Organizations will be a valuable resource for us as we look to partner with other networks experiencing similar challenges in the shift to value-based health care. We believe collaboration is at the heart of health care, and are excited to participate in SRHO as we continue to improve care for the patients we serve in Iowa and Illinois.”

Membership in SRHO represents over 400 hospitals in 20 states, and continues to grow. In its first year, SRHO plans to continue growth of its membership, foster development of inter-organizational shared services to reduce costs and explore high-value collaborative solutions for employers.

Jennifer Vermeer was appointed Chief Executive Officer for University of Iowa Health Alliance (UIHA) in May 2016. She is also the Assistant Vice President for Health Policy and Population Health for University of Iowa Health Care. She previously served as Chief Operating Officer for UIHA. In her current role, she is leading efforts to implement population health management strategies, value-based contracting, and clinical integration to improve quality outcomes and lower costs for the UIHA Accountable Care Organization, which includes 18 hospitals and over 3,000 providers for over 100,000 covered lives.  In addition, she is responsible for state and federal health policy for UI Health Care. Prior to this role, she was Director of the Iowa Medicaid Program for six years, where she led health delivery system reform initiatives such as implementing Iowa’s new approach to Medicaid, the Iowa Health and Wellness plan, multipayer Accountable Care Organizations, and Health Homes, including a Health Home targeted for persons with Serious Mental Illness.