Aetna Expands Accountable Care Model, Introduces Aetna Whole Health Collaboration with Duke Health and WakeMed Health & Hospitals

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

MORRISVILLE, N.C. – Aetna (NYSE: AET) today announced an expanded accountable care collaboration with Duke Health and WakeMed Health & Hospitals. It offers employers and individuals in 12 central North Carolina counties a health care option designed to improve quality, efficiency and the patient experience, and to control costs.

The co-branded product, called Aetna Whole Health–Duke Health & WakeMed, brings together Duke Health and WakeMed physicians, hospitals and outpatient facilities, as well as WakeMed Key Community Care (WKCC).

WKCC is an accountable care organization (ACO) created by WakeMed Health & Hospitals, WakeMed Physician Practices and Key Physicians. Together, they will form a robust network that offers patients access to every level of health care service, from prevention and primary care to the most sophisticated medical and surgical specialties.

"This new agreement deepens our long-standing collaborative relationships with Duke Health and WakeMed, and is great news for our current and future customers in North Carolina," said Jim Bostian, president of Aetna's operations in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. "We're thrilled to align our mutual resources to deliver better value through quality, cost-effective care and improved population health management."

Since 2013, Aetna has offered a product, including the same providers, to employers and individuals under the Carelink banner. The expanded geographical reach now includes the following counties: Alamance, Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Lee, Orange, Person, Vance, Wake and Wilson. Aetna provides health benefits to more than 550,000 people in North Carolina.

For several years, fully insured employers have had access to a high-performance network product through Aetna. The ACO will now be offered to self-funded employers, allowing larger companies to experience the benefits generated from better coordinated care and population health management.

"We're pleased to participate in this ACO," said Thomas Owens, M.D., vice president for medical affairs and chief medical officer for Duke University Health System. "We believe it represents a very effective approach to providing patients with a high-quality breadth of services and options, while also managing costs and efficiency through enhanced coordination of care and care management."

"Through enhanced access to care, improved care coordination and an integrated delivery system focused on the quality of care delivery, WKCC offers a strong value proposition for our valued patients," said Brian Klausner, M.D., WakeMed primary care physician and WKCC medical director. "Working collaboratively with Aetna in this new health plan is an emphatic step toward reshaping and improving the care delivery system for all stakeholders: patients, providers and purchasers."

Aetna Whole Health℠–Duke Health & WakeMed plans are designed to give employers better health care options for their employees with a patient-centric model of health care focused on keeping people healthy rather than just treating them when they become sick.

The plans feature a new model of health care delivery designed to offer:

  • Enhanced coordination of care between doctors and other care providers;
  • Improved patient experience through best-in-class care management programs;
  • Use of advanced technology that delivers actionable data and quality information to providers;
  • Lower overall out-of-pocket costs for members who see providers that are part of the Aetna Whole Health℠– Duke Health & WakeMed network; and
  • Better health care outcomes for patients.

Aetna is working with health care organizations nationwide to develop products and services that support value-driven, patient-centered care for health care consumers. Nationally today, about 6.2 million Aetna members receive care from doctors committed to the value-based approach, with approximately 40 percent of Aetna claims payments going to doctors and providers who practice value-based care. Aetna has committed to increasing that number to 75 percent by 2020.

About Aetna

Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving an estimated 46.3 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers’ compensation administrative services and health information technology products and services. Aetna’s customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see

About Duke Health

Duke Health integrates all the research, education and clinical care components of the nationally renowned Duke University Health System, Duke University Schools of Medicine and Nursing, and the health-related research conducted through the Duke Global Health Institute.

About WakeMed Health & Hospitals

Serving the community since 1961, WakeMed Health & Hospitals is a nationally recognized, private, not-for-profit health care organization founded and based in Raleigh, N.C. The largest health system in Wake County, WakeMed exists to improve the health and well-being of our community by providing outstanding, compassionate, patient- and family-centered care to all. The 919-bed system comprises a network of facilities throughout the Triangle area, delivering health and wellness services that bring added value to the communities we serve. WakeMed is a leader in cardiac and vascular care, women's and children's services, emergency medicine and trauma care, physical rehabilitation, orthopedics and neurosciences. Specialty facilities include the WakeMed Heart Center, Children's Hospital, Women's Pavilion and Birthplace, Women's Hospital at WakeMed North, WakeMed Rehabilitation Hospital, Adult and Children's Emergency Departments and a Level 1 Trauma Center.

Aetna Media Contact:

Walt Cherniak