Dozens of physician leaders in Monterey County and Aspire Medicare Advantage members watched Friday as the CEO’s of Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System (SVMHS) and Montage Health (parent company of Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula) signed an historic agreement to elevate the level of heath care in the community.

SVMHS and Montage Health (CHOMP) are now co-owners of Aspire Health Plan and Community Health Innovations (CHI), which focus on coordination of care, disease management and health and wellness services. Aspire Health Plan is the only Medicare Advantage program in Monterey County offering people eligible for Medicare a single plan that is simple, comprehensive and cost effective.

“It was three years ago today we had our first meeting about uniting physicians and two top rated hospitals in an important initiative focused on community health,” says Jim Gilbert, MD MHCM, President of the Monterey Bay Independent Physician Association. “The significance of this partnership cannot be overstated.”

The collaboration comes during a time when there is a fundamental and profound shift in the delivery of health care – with a focus on the Triple Aim – a healthier population, improved patient experience and lower costs.

“The vision of both organizations is to create a healthier community,” says Pete Delgado, President/CEO of Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System. “This groundbreaking partnership provides the framework for us to work together to better coordinate care and expand access to quality care on the Peninsula and in Salinas.”

More than half of all new Medicare recipients nationwide opt for a Medicare Advantage plan because they provide coverage superior to traditional Medicare. Aspire offers extra benefits like dental, vision, hearing, chiropractic, acupuncture and more.

Aspire Medicare Advantage Plan members and physicians praised the Aspire Health Plan as convenient, simple and backed by trusted doctors and health care providers.

“We are committed to every person in Monterey County being able to achieve optimal health,” says Steven Packer, MD, President/CEO of Montage Health. “This collaboration is a significant step in that pursuit.”

It is important to note that this partnership is not a step toward a merger between SVMHS and Community Hospital. There are no plans or discussions regarding a merger. This is however a collaboration that benefits the people of the region and the two organizations will continue to cooperate and work on initiatives such as diabetes and other projects that ultimately help create a healthier community.

The open enrollment period for Aspire Medicare Advantage Plan ends December 7th. More information can be found at www.aspirehealthplan.org.