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Quality Awards & Projects

List of Awards:

Meritage wins SF Business Times’ award for Healthiest Employers

We rank the Bay Area’s Healthiest Small Employers based on analyses of their wellness programs. Small employers includes companies with between 25-99 local full-time employees. Scores provided by research partner Springbuk, which administered assessments completed by each company’s wellness program manager..

View the article here: https://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/subscriber-only/2017/09/08/cbiz-nova-group-inc-alvarado-street.html

North Bay Business Journal Healthiest Companies

“Meritage Medical Network launched its wellness program — Meritage Health 360 — in 2016 with an ambitious mission to empower employees to live their healthiest lives,” said CEO, Wojtek Nowak. “After almost a year, we’re already seeing gains.”

He said Meritage conducted pre- and postimplementation anonymous employee surveys, and found that job satisfaction increased after introducing Meritage Health 360.

“Our wellness program is voluntary, and we already have a 40 percent participation rate, far surpassing our first-year goal of 25 percent.”

Employees are happier and more productive, some have lost weight and others have become more physically active. Those engaged report less fatigue and increased focus, and some report that group wellness activities foster a more congenial, relaxed and connected workforce.

This award-winning, physician-run medical network in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties, has 700 primary care and specialist physicians who serve half a million North Bay residents…

View the full article here: http://www.northbaybusinessjournal.com/northbay/marincounty/7622825-181/meritage-medical-network-wellness

2017 Best Places to Work in the North Bay in the twelfth-annual North Bay Business Journal survey

2017 Best Places to Work in the North Bay in the twelfth-annual North Bay Business Journal survey

View the article here: http://www.northbaybusinessjournal.com/events/7312227-181/best-places-to-work-winners

Elite Status, 2016 Survey of Excellence, California Association of Physician Groups (CAPG)

Meritage Medical Network Receives Excellence in Healthcare Award for Outstanding Patient Care and Service


September 26, 2016

NOVATO, Calif. – For the third consecutive year, Meritage Medical Network, the North Bay’s largest independent physician-run medical network, was honored by the Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA) with an Excellence in Healthcare Award for its achievements in providing patients high-quality care while managing costs.

A nonprofit group, IHA honors California physician groups for excellence in controlling costs while ensuring patients receive high-quality, evidence-based care. The award recognizes success in IHA’s Value Based Pay for Performance (P4P) program, a public reporting initiative designed to improve overall performance throughout the health care system. In earning the award, Meritage performed in the top 17 percent of California physician organizations. Meritage has now won the award each year since IHA created it. The presentation took place at the IHA Annual Stakeholders Meeting in Los Angeles on September 23.

“Through the Excellence in Healthcare Award, we recognize physician organizations that are making a real difference in their communities and in their patients’ lives every day through their commitment to high-quality, affordable, patient-centered care,” said IHA President and CEO Jeffrey Rideout, M.D.

“Delivering high-quality health care at manageable costs is a challenge, but it’s possible,” said Wojtek Nowak, CEO of Meritage. “Meritage physicians continue to pursue practices that will better benefit their patients in every respect. It’s an honor to receive the Excellence in Healthcare Award and to be named among the highest performing physician networks in California.”

Earlier this month, Meritage achieved certification from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for its P4P audit review. The certification affirms the high level of integrity of performance data that has been reported by Meritage.

About Meritage Medical Network
Meritage Medical Network is an award-winning physician-run network of 700 board-certified primary care and specialist physicians that delivers comprehensive medical services to nearly half a million residents in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties. Established in 1981, Meritage provides robust continuum-of-care options through contracts with all North Bay HMO plans and the Centers for Medicare Services, and through relationships with eight regional hospitals as well as the Bay Area’s topmost academic medical centers. For more information, visit www.MeritageMed.com.


Media contact:

Amy Scarlett | 415.392.1000


Elite Status, 2015 Survey of Excellence, California Association of Physician Groups (CAPG)

Elite Status, 2014 Survey of Excellence, California Association of Physician Groups (CAPG)

Meritage Medical Network Presented with National Continuum of Care Award

Meritage Medical Network’s ACO program was recently honored with a 2015 Case In Point Platinum Award by Dorland Health for Meritage’s Case Management in Managed Care Programs for Transitions of Care. Dorland Health is a nationally recognized leader in educational services for healthcare practitioners, and the Case In Point Platinum Awards are granted to those who set the standard for professionals and organizations by demonstrating sustained success across continuum of care efforts and coordination.

Case management and care coordination are in the national spotlight with the Affordable Care Act, which focuses on improving management of patient transitions and preventing hospital readmissions. Accountability, through incentives and penalties, is placed on providers to effectively execute these transitions. In light of this, and with the sincere desire to create a better experience for patients, Meritage ACO developed a new hybrid model of care to meet four specific goals:

  1. To reduce preventable readmissions among populations with the highest risk
  2. To improve patient safety via medication reconciliation
  3. To increase patient satisfaction by improving communication and coordination between providers and care settings
  4. To ensure that patient end-of-life preferences are taken into account

Through a program designed using evidenced-based initiatives, a patient-centric and team-based mobile care communications network, and skilled nurse care managers, Meritage ACO has succeeded in meeting their goals and providing patients with a better quality experience and continuum of care.

The Director of Care Management and Quality Assurance at Meritage Medical Network (Andrea Kmetz, RN) explained that “the care transition program has produced outstanding results, resulting in a readmission rate of just 10.2% for its highest-risk patients – considerably below the national average. This has placed Meritage ACO just shy of the 90th percentile for chronic heart failure, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and all-cause 30-day readmission avoidance. We are incredibly honored to receive this recognition from Dorland Health for our model of care program, and we continue to look for ways to improve our model and our patients’ experience.”

About Meritage Medical Network

Meritage Medical Network is a healthcare network representing physician members in Marin, Napa, and Sonoma Counties in California. We provide health care and administer benefits for HMO members in those regions. Our expert medical and administrative staff are dedicated to ensuring that patients receive the highest quality health care available. In January 2013, Meritage Medical Network was designated as an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) by Medicare. Meritage ACO delivers quality coordinated care to the residents of the North Bay. For more information, please visit meritagemed.com.

Excellence in Healthcare – Pay For Performance (P4P)

Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA)

“Excellence in Healthcare” award winners are physician organizations that have been successful in achieving strong quality results while effectively managing costs. To earn this recognition, physician organizations must have performance that ranks in the top 50% for clinical quality and patient experience and cost performance. Cost performance is based on the total cost of care, including adjustments to account for members’ risk and geography

Honorable Mention for “Mobile Technology to Improve Patient Care Transitions” (along with Marin General Hospital) – Platinum Awards

Case In Point, Dorland Health

This honor is awarded through the Transition of Care (Acute) Program. The judges looked at each submission for creativity, innovation, leadership, behavioral change, patient education and empowerment, improvement in effectiveness and efficiency, and cost containment.

Bronze Award (90th Percentile performance) – Outstanding Performance for Blood Sugar Control for Patients with Diabetes

California Department of Managed Care

This honor was awarded through the Right Care Initiative, whose goal is to apply scientific evidence and outcomes-improvement strategies to reduce morbidity and mortality among California’s 15 million managed health plan enrollees.

Outstanding Overall Performance – Pay For Performance (P4P)

Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA)

IHA determines the physician groups that have demonstrated the best overall performance for select health care quality measures including preventive and chronic care management, patient satisfaction, and use of information technology to support safer and more effective care. Physician groups whose overall performance surpassed a comprehensive statewide threshold based on the top 25 percent score for each P4P quality measure are selected for recognition as Top Overall Performers.

Elite Status – Standards of Excellence Survey

California Association of Physician Groups (CAPG)

This survey scores how well equipped and structured physician groups are to deliver better patient experience, better population health, and better overall affordability. This year, Meritage Medical Network received four out of four stars, surpassing a peer-defined threshold score in key domain areas. The four key domain scored areas are care management practices, health information technology, accountability and transparency, and patient-centered care.

List of Projects:

The Virtual Huddle: Making Communication Easier for ACOs

Oncology_doctor_consults_with_patientWe all know communication is crucial to quality health care. Operating as an ACO, however, can make face-to-face communication tricky and time-consuming.

Meritage Medical Network covers a 26,000 square mile region, with numerous physicians, specialists, and hospitals within our system. Finding a solution that reduced the tiresome game of phone tag yet still allowed for meaningful dialog and exchanging of information was something we knew we had to focus on.

Utilizing Zynx Health’s mobile app, the Virtual Huddle, has allowed us to quickly check in on a patient’s care history in a HIPAA compliant manner.

Read more about our use of this system and the wonderful results we’ve seen so far in this recently published article in Hospital and Health Networks.

National Healthcare Decisions Day

Meritage Accountable Care Organization is presenting a panel entitled, ‘Making Your Healthcare Wishes Known’ in honor of National Healthcare Decisions Day, Wenesday, April 15th.  The purpose of this annual day is to inspire, educate & empower the public & providers about the importance of advance care planning. We encourage you to attend our event by RSVPing to Margaret Todd Senior Center at 415-899-8290 and prepare for your future and that of your loved ones.

Speakers include: Mather Neill, MD, Cheri Forrester, MD, Dorsa Barzin, RN (Meritage ACO Nurse Care Manager), Teresa Tooker (Marin County POLST Coalition Chair), and Moderator Giovanni Elia, MD.

Light refreshments and beverages will be served.


Upcoming: IMPACT Behavioral Health Program

SCAN Health Plan

This program is based on a collaborative model between the patient, primary care physician, a depression care manager (RN or LCSW), a designated psychiatrist (mainly as a consult resource for the care manager and PCP). This is an evidence-based depression care program developed at the University of Washington piloted in the Kaiser system and promoted by SCAN Health Plan. Outcomes are measured and care is deployed based on clinical outcomes according to an evidence-based algorithm.

Measure Up/Pressure Down

AMGA (American Medical Group Association)

This has been a three-year national campaign designed to engage important stakeholders in improving blood pressure control and achieving lasting improvements that lead to greater health, productivity, and cost savings. The national campaign encourages adults to “measure, monitor, and maintain” – have their blood pressure checked at least once a year, work with their doctors on treatment plans, take any prescribed medications as directed, and make lifestyle changes such as eating healthier and becoming more active.

Peri-operative Surgical Home (PSH) Collaborative

American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)

This is a project designed around coordination of care (primarily by the anesthesiologist) and use of enhanced recovery protocols for patients undergoing elective surgical procedures to achieve higher patient satisfaction, improve outcomes, and reduce lengths of stay. A few of the other 40 organizations participating in the learning collaborative include Mayo Clinic, Stanford, UCSF, and UCLA.

Collaborative for Older Adult Safe Transitions (COAST@Marin)

Marin General Hospital, Marin County Department of Health and Human Services, and Careinsync

COAST@Marin was the first multi-enterprise task force in the state of California to address improving the safety of older adults being discharged from the hospital. Employing principles from Project RED (Re-Engineering Discharges), Project Boost, and the Coleman model, this group later became the Marin Mobile Care Network that now includes the original members plus 2 skilled nursing facilities and a hospice and a home care agency. The MGH 30-day readmission rate was reduced by 22% in the first 6 months and has been reduced again by another 50% for those patients coached by Meritage staff.

Take Accountability for Ambulatory Care Transitions (TAACT) Collaborative

California Quality Collaborative (CQC)

This is a 6-month program designed to promote best practices in managing the handoff from inpatient to ambulatory systems in the first 30 days after a hospital stay. Simply put, the mission of TAACT is to optimize an organization’s capacity to reduce readmissions. Other organizations in our cohort included San Francisco General Hospital, La Clinica De La Raza, and Stanford Hospital’s Cardiac Program.