Facey Medical Group of Mission Hills will receive $1.09 million from Blue Shield of California, one of 18 California healthcare providers to share $20 million being awarded by the health insurer to encourage more efficient delivery of care.

Facey, a multi-specialty medical group with 150 doctors serving much of the San Fernando Valley will use the funds to create an Accountable Care Organization and a medical home, new care delivery models intended to provide patients with more coordinated care while reducing hospital admissions and readmissions. Facey Medical will also use the money to increase post-discharge provider visits, palliative care, home visits and hospice referrals.

These new care delivery models are intended to provide more coordinated care to patients and integration between doctors, hospitals and insurers. National healthcare reform calls for the expansion of Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) as a way to improve care while reducing unnecessary medical costs. Blue Shield is distributing the awards to encourage the creation of ACOs.

A total of 18 California hospitals, health systems, clinics and physician groups – including many serving underserved populations – will partake in the grant, which will be distributed in December.

The grants are also part of San Francisco-based Blue Shield's pledge, made last June, to limit annual net income to 2 percent of revenue and to return the difference to customers and the community. Today's grants represent an average of $10 million for each of the two fiscal years (2010 and 2011) that the pledge has been applied.

"We received nearly 60 grant applications from providers around the state,” said Paul Markovich, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Blue Shield in a statement. “This demonstrates overwhelming interest among providers in collaborating to reduce costs and enhance the quality of care."