Local Partnership Helps UCC-related Advocate Aurora Health Better Serve Older Adults

Each day, more adults turn 65, qualifying for Medicare. U.S. Census Bureau statistics project that the 65-and-older population will reach 83.7 million by 2050, almost double from the 2012 level of 43.1 million. To serve the increasing older adult population, UCC-related Advocate Aurora Health — headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., and Chicago — is partnering with Chicago-based Oak Street Health to open a new primary care health center for adults on Medicare.

The center is slated to open later this spring. It will be located in Chicago’s northwest suburb of Elgin, Ill., and will  bring the two health systems together in a new way and with a shared vision to transform the health care experience. Currently, the area boasts more than 25,000 Medicare-eligible older adults.

“This partnership allows us to accelerate the growth of our Medicare Advantage population, providing us even greater opportunity to coordinate care across our growing senior population,” says the Rev. Kathie Bender Schwich, chief spiritual office for Advocate Aurora. “Oak Street Health has been Successful in applying the value-based care plan model to improve health outcomes while reducing avoidable hospitalizations and emergency room visits.”

Advocate Aurora Health operates a network of hospitals, specialists and ambulatory care sites in Illinois and Wisconsin. Oak Street Health has 40 primary care centers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania providing care for older adults on Medicare. The partnership blends the two to better serve the region.

“By shifting focus towards quality of care instead of volume of services, there has been a meaningful improvement in reducing hospital admissions and emergency room visits,” Says Mike Pykosz, CEO and co-founder of Oak Street Health. “We know Advocate Aurora Health shares that visions, and … is the right partner to expand our services.”

Scott Powder, Advocate Aurora’s chief strategy officer, agrees. “Our aligned approach to population health and shared vision for transforming the health care experience will benefit patients and communities,” Powder says. “We’re excited to see what we can do together to enhance outcomes and manage costs across the health care continuum.”

The venture is unique for both partners: it is Oak Street Health’s first partnership with a large, integrated health system; and it is CHHSM-member Advocate Aurora’s first partnership with a health care company focused solely on Medicare-age adults. The partnership exemplifies both organizations’ commitment to better serving older adults, says Schwich.

“Oak Street Health’s model is designed to provide a holistic, comprehensive approach to primary care. Its centers offer flexible scheduling, more face time with doctors, transportation to medical appointments, insurance and community health education, and social activities,” Bender Schwich says. “We are excited about how this partnership will enable us to provide care to older adults in a holistic — and more effective — way.”

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