Accountable care organizations (ACO) are changing the way health care is delivered, from a fee-for-service model to value-based care. If you are considering a career in the health care field, it’s important to understand the basics of this fast-growing healthcare model.
- The definition. An accountable care organization (ACO) is a network of doctors, specialists, hospitals, home health practitioners and other medical providers who voluntarily work together to provide coordinated, high-quality care to their Medicare patients, rather than operating individually.
- The goal. The goal of coordinated health is to provide the patient with more “quality time” with their physician and care team, and greater collaboration between practice and patient which will help the patient lead a more healthy life.
- The requirements. The Medicare Shared Savings Program stipulates that an ACO must treat at least 5,000 Medicare patients every three years to be eligible to receive financial rewards.
- The benefits. According to data drawn from various sources by the UC Berkeley Center for Healthcare Organization, Innovation and Research (CHOIR), large multi‐specialty medical groups do, in fact, provide higher-quality care at lower cost than other provider organizations providers and patients alike benefit from reduced paperwork, better coordination and communication and better out-of-hours accessibility.
- The healthcare model is growing. There are now 775 ACOs registered across the U.S., covering about 20 million people. Of those, about 7.8 million are part of Medicare, with the remainder from the commercial and Medicaid sectors.
For those health-care professionals who want to learn more about the latest shifts and changes in their industry, an advanced degree may be the right decision.