Aetna and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in the US have entered a new accountable care organisation (ACO) collaboration designed to improve the quality of care and lower healthcare costs through more co-ordinated care.

Under the deal, members of Aetna commercial plans (up to the age of 19) in the five-county Philadelphia area and Burlington county, and who receive care from CHOP physicians, became part of the programme.

The deal, which is Aetna’s first pediatric ACO arrangement, is part of its strategy to transition from fee-for-service reimbursement to value-based payment.

Value-based arrangements are currently emerging as a solution to address rising healthcare costs, reduce duplication of services and improve health outcomes for people.

The company noted in value-based models, doctors and hospitals are paid for helping keep people healthy and for improving the health of those who have chronic conditions in an evidence-based, cost-effective way.

"Aetna is engaging in hospital collaborations that promote co-ordinated, high-quality care and an improved patient experience at lower costs."

CHOP strategic planning and business development executive vice-president Matthew Cook said: "The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is committed to exploring new and innovative relationships that enable families throughout our service area to benefit from the world-class paediatric care that they can only receive at CHOP.

"This agreement with Aetna will be of great benefit to their subscriber families and we are gratified to join Aetna in this effort."

The deal features a new payment model that rewards physicians for meeting certain measures designed to improve quality, lower costs and improve patient satisfaction.

Aetna Pennsylvania operations president Laurie Brubaker said: "Aetna is engaging in hospital collaborations that promote co-ordinated, high-quality care and an improved patient experience at lower costs.

"We’re delighted to work with CHOP to achieve those goals for our members in the Philadelphia area."

More than 1,100 CHOP physicians will be part of this new model, which will help to reduce potentially avoidable hospital admissions and emergency room visits, as well as improve appropriate antibiotic usage.