Three Connecticut health care groups are among 106 that received federal approval to operate networks of health care providers that coordinate to improve the quality of care for Medicare patients.

The networks are known as accountable care organizations and are a key initiative of the federal health reform law. The goal is to get doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers to work together to improve patient care, in part by eliminating gaps that occur when patients move from one type of care to another.

Accountable care organizations are also intended to reduce the growth of health care costs, and they are expected to share any savings they generate with Medicare. They must meet care quality standards that are based on care coordination, patient safety, appropriate use of preventive services, improved care for at-risk patients, and the patients’ and caregivers’ experience of care.

The three networks that received approval are affiliated with ProHealth Physicians, the state’s largest primary care practice, Hartford HealthCare and St. Francis HealthCare Partners. Three other networks based in Massachusetts could also serve Connecticut patients.

Another network, formed by Middletown-based Medical Professional Services, a group of independent physicians, received approval in July.

Read more about the model here.

Arielle Levin Becker covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror. She previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter, and has also covered small towns, courts and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on caregivers from the National Association of Health Journalists. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University.

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