Though Seemingly Beneficial, Large ACO Groups That Influence Doctor Decisions Could Prove Risky
Critics are worried that the concept of accountable care organizations could backfire, HealthyCal reports.
HealthyCal: Accountable Care Organizations Aim To Cut Costs, Increase Quality
An ACO is a group of health care providers such as doctors, hospitals and others, including insurance companies, who agree to work together to provide overall care to their patients. Those providers are accountable for the quality and cost of that care. If they reduce costs while improving patient care, they share in the savings. If they don't deliver, they may risk losing money. While the idea has many proponents, critics are concerned about the creation of large health care groups that could have too much influence over physician decisions. That could backfire and ultimately result in increased health care costs (Graebner, 7/18).
In the meantime, an ACO in Missouri hopes its new designation will help them better coordinate services --
St. Louis Beacon: BJC Hopes ACO Designation Means Better Coordination Of Services
BJC HealthCare system is adopting a new philosophy of care for the elderly. The change will occur because Barnes-Jewish Hospital has become an Accountable Care Organization, a federal designation that is supposed to spur hospitals to focus with CAT scan accuracy on issues to improve quality and cut cost. This new model is a response to what federal health officials say is a disjointed medical treatment system for many Americans over age 65. Two out of three suffer from several chronic conditions that are treated by different doctors, many of whom are said to coordinate the patient's care about as well as a surgeon would perform an operation with two left hands (Joiner, 7/17).