Community | Press Releases

Greenville, N.C. – Coastal Plains Network improved care for more than 27,000 Medicare beneficiaries in eastern North Carolina and saved Medicare $13,220,162 by meeting quality and cost goals in 2022, according to recently released performance data from The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Coastal Plains Network consisted of ECU Health clinics and hospitals as well as Rural Health Group during the performance period.

As a Shared Savings Program Accountable Care Organization (ACO), the Coastal Plains Network – a company founded by ECU Health – reached a record number of savings and earnings in 2022. ACOs are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers who decide to collaborate and provide coordinated, high-quality care to people with Medicare. Under this collaboration, patients are less likely to need repeat medical tests or unnecessary medical services, have extra help managing chronic diseases, more preventative health services, additional recovery support when coming home from the hospital and care in more convenient ways such as home-based care or telehealth services.

A doctor talks with two patients

When an ACO succeeds in both delivering high-quality care and spending health care dollars more wisely, the ACO may be eligible to share in the savings it achieves for the Medicare program, also known as performance payments. The Coastal Plains Network received more than $5 million from CMS to invest in improving patient care and outcomes.

“ECU Health and the Coastal Plains Network are proud of the providers who helped bring record savings to the Shared Savings Program, which improves the quality of care, care coordination, accessibility and lowers health care costs for Medicare recipients,” said Todd Hickey, chief strategy officer, ECU Health. “With the savings, ECU Health plans to reinvest in population health efforts aligned with our mission to improve the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina.”

Patients enrolled in the Medicare Shared Savings Program see lower out-of-pocket spending on avoidable health care utilization like emergency department visits because the ACO has better coordinated their care.

“The Medicare Shared Savings Program helps millions of people with Medicare experience coordinated health care while also reducing costs for the Medicare program,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “CMS will continue to improve the program, and it is exciting to see that Accountable Care Organizations are continuing to be successful in delivering coordinated, high-quality, affordable, equitable, person-centered care.”

The Medicare Shared Savings Program saved Medicare $1.8 billion in 2022 compared to spending targets for the year. This marks the sixth consecutive year the program has generated overall savings and high-quality performance results. This represents the second-highest annual savings accrued for Medicare since the program’s inception more than ten years ago.

“We are encouraged and inspired by six consecutive years of savings and high-quality care, with 2022 being one of the strongest years of performance to date,” said Meena Seshamani, MD, PhD, CMS Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicare. “The Shared Savings Program is Medicare’s permanent, flagship Accountable Care Program, and we look forward to continually improving and growing the program, expanding the reach of participating ACOs, and addressing critical health disparities across the country.”