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TAMPA, Fla., and KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 12, 2019) – The Accountable Care Coalition of Tennessee (ACC Tennessee) will expand starting January 2019 with the addition of more participants from founding member Summit Medical Group, as well as new participants from Johnson City-based primary care organization State of Franklin Healthcare Associates (SoFHA).

In addition, three specialty groups have agreed to collaborate with the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) with a focus on reducing the total cost of care for ACC Tennessee patients: Premier Surgical, Gastrointestinal Associates and University Eye Specialists.

ACC Tennessee was formed in 2018 by Summit Medical Group, a physician-led organization, and Collaborative Health Systems, a WellCare Health Plans, Inc. company (NYSE: WCG). The coalition participates in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’s (CMS’s) Next Generation ACO Model. ACC Tennessee currently serves more than 21,000 Medicare Fee-For-Service beneficiaries in East Tennessee.

Next Generation Model ACOs are groups of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers who come together voluntarily to provide coordinated high-quality care to their Medicare beneficiaries, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors.

“Collaboration with these top-performing, well-respected healthcare providers continues to underscore the importance of value-based care programs,” said Summit Medical Group CEO Ed Curtis. “These physicians, like ours at Summit, are committed to increasing efficiency and enhancing patient care, and following ACC Tennessee’s successful first year, we’re poised for additional growth and success in 2019. We’re looking forward to utilizing the tools of the Next Generation ACO Model to deliver exceptional care, focused on prevention and coordination, while reducing overall healthcare spending.”

“Our core mission is to achieve the best possible outcomes for our patients,” said Jeff Dew, CEO of Gastrointestinal Associates. “We also emphasize preventive care and improving quality of life. Aligning with ACC Tennessee is the perfect partnership for us.”

Under the Next Generation ACO Model, ACC Tennessee physicians have tools at their disposal to engage beneficiaries in their healthcare and provide innovative care.

“We are privileged to help bring the lives of our patients into focus,” said Will Pitt, CEO of University Eye Specialists. “Our eye care services cover the full spectrum and collaborating with ACC Tennessee will give us access to other healthcare partners who are committed to providing the absolute best care for our patients.”

“Collaborating with the providers in the Next Generation ACO is the right fit for State of Franklin physicians and our patients,” said SoFHA CEO Rich Panek. “Across the region, the participants represent the best that healthcare has to offer, and as we align as leaders in accountable, patient-focused, value-based care through ACC Tennessee, East Tennessee will only continue to benefit as we continue to raise the high bar we’ve set for quality of care.”

Kevin Burris, CEO of Premier Surgical Associates, said, “The care we provide to our patients is intended to improve overall quality of life. ACC Tennessee is another way to ensure that we are providing our absolute best care and services.”

ACC Tennessee will also work with additional agencies in 2019 that have agreed to collaborate with the ACO to improve quality and control costs for patients. This network of preferred providers includes skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, palliative care and hospice, as follows:

• Amedisys Home Health

• Aspire Health

• Beverly Park Place Health and Rehab

• Covenant HomeCare and Hospice

• Island Home Park Health and Rehab

• West Hills Health and Rehab

• Jefferson City Health and Rehab

• Life Care Centers of Blount County, Greeneville, Jefferson City, Morgan County and Morristown, as well as The Heritage Center

• NHC HealthCare, Fort Sanders; NHC HealthCare, Knoxville; NHC HealthCare, Oak Ridge; NHC Place, Farragut; and Holston Health and Rehabilitation Center

• Ocoee Sevierville Health and Rehabilitation Center

ACC Tennessee participation in the Next Generation ACO Model recognizes the success Summit Medical Group has had in coordinating patient care. Recently, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recognized 38 Summit Medical Group primary care offices for providing excellent care through its Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) program. The PCMH is a model of care focused on putting patients first and strengthening the relationships between patients and their care teams. It also calls for patients to be active participants in managing their health with a shared goal of staying as healthy as possible, which helps reduce health care costs. 

About Accountable Care Coalition of Tennessee

The Accountable Care Coalition of Tennessee is dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare and lowering the growth rate of healthcare costs. The Accountable Care Coalition of Tennessee is comprised of physicians within Summit Medical Group, one of East Tennessee’s largest primary care organizations, and Johnson City-based primary care organization State of Franklin Healthcare Associates (SoFHA). Summit’s singular commitment to quality has led its office-based physicians to rank in the top 10 in the country of all three categories of National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recognition: Patient-Centered Medical Home, Diabetes Recognition Program and Heart/Stroke Recognition Program. For more information, visit

About Collaborative Health Systems

Collaborative Health Systems (CHS), a WellCare Company, is a management services organization that partners with primary care physicians as they move to value-based payment systems. Its core belief is that primary care physicians are in the best position to influence the quality and cost of healthcare. CHS provides comprehensive support for its physician partners by providing management services, risk contracting, and population health capabilities, including actionable data and other tools to deliver care coordination and closure of gaps in care. CHS provides additional services to secure and deliver favorable value-based contracts with commercial and other health plans.

As of January 2019, CHS manages two Next Generation ACOs and ten Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) ACOs, covering over 130,000 Medicare beneficiaries. In addition, CHS partners with physician groups that have come together to form Independent Physician Associations (IPAs). For more information, visit

About Summit Medical Group

Summit Medical Group is East Tennessee’s largest primary care organization with more than 300 providers at more than 60 practice locations in 14 counties. Summit also consists of four diagnostic imaging centers, mobile diagnostic services, eight physical therapy centers, three express clinics, central laboratory and sleep services center. Summit provides healthcare services to more than 280,000 patients, averaging over one million encounters annually. For more information, visit

About State of Franklin Healthcare Associates

State of Franklin Healthcare Associates (SoFHA), a physician-owned and operated medical group serving Northeast Tennessee, is a progressive, patient-centered system of 13 practices and over 120 providers. Since it was founded in 1998, SoFHA has been providing state-of-the-art primary healthcare services to patients of all ages within the region. SoFHA sees over 120,000 attributed patients and its model of healthcare delivery incorporates patient-physician partnering and preventive measures as key components to achieving long-term, better health for patients. Our board-certified physicians, physician extenders and medical staff strive to enhance the quality of life by providing excellent, patient-centered care.

About WellCare Health Plans

Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) focuses primarily on providing government-sponsored managed care services to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, as well as individuals in the Health Insurance Marketplace.

WellCare serves approximately 5.5 million members nationwide as of December 31, 2018. For more information about WellCare, please visit the company’s website at

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