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Coalitions Set Aside Competitive Rivalries to Try to Improve Public Health

Three groups selected to be state’s first Medicaid ACOs designed to bolster preventive care among low-income urban residents.

By: Andrew Kitchenman – NJSpotLight

Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, executive director of the Camden Coalition.

Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, executive director of the Camden Coalition.

Hospital rivalries can get be intense, so it’s significant when longtime New Jersey healthcare competitors agree to work together.

This week signaled a landmark of sorts for such unlikely collaborations, as three groups that include a number of hospitals were selected to launch Medicaid accountable care organizations.

ACOs are designed to improve coordination of healthcare for people with complex and chronic health conditions.

The long-awaited announcement of the groups’ selection culminated a nearly four-year process to get the Medicaid ACO Demonstration Project underway, beginning when the law authorizing the program was enacted in August 2011.

Since then, state officials worked with the federal government and local groups to finalize the rules governing the organizations, and also determined which applicants were prepared to follow these rules.

“They will learn what works, modify what doesn’t, and spread” the successful strategies with each other and across the state, she added.

The organizations selected are the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, the Healthy Greater Newark ACO (building on the work of the nonprofit Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition), and the Trenton Health Team.

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About the Trenton Health Team
Trenton Health Team (THT) is an alliance of the city’s major providers of healthcare services including Capital Health, St. Francis Medical Center, Henry J. Austin Health Center and the city’s Health Department. In collaboration with residents and the city’s active social services network, THT is developing an integrated healthcare delivery system to transform the city’s fragmented primary care system and restore health to the city. THT aims to make Trenton the healthiest city in the state. Support for the Trenton Health Team was provided in part by a grant from The Nicholson Foundation. For more information, visit