In response to decades of rising healthcare costs without corresponding improvements in the quality of care, policymakers, providers, and payers across the country have been working on developing new models of care that potentially could “bend the cost curve” while rewarding for high quality and improved health status. A required model for the future, since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), is an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) that provides infrastructure and information technology solutions for moving from a disjointed, siloed “system” of delivery to one that is well coordinated and aligned to provide real value to patients, providers, and payers alike.
Let’s Define an Accountable Care Organization (ACO)?
The premise behind an ACO is that providing evidence-based, quality care will decrease costs and improve patient health status. While there is no single, well-accepted definition of an Accountable Care Organization (ACO), there is a general agreement that it creates a closer working relationship among hospitals, physicians/groups, insurers, employers, and individuals, where all players share the risk and assume accountability for health status outcomes. This white paper, Accountable Care Organizations 101, is the first in a series of eight. It includes such information as:
This paper discusses:
- What is an Accountable Care Organization (ACO)?
- How Did We Get Here?
- Where is the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Headed?
- Target of Cost Containment
- What’s the Market Place Saying about Accountable Care Organizations?