Health Care Models: Accountable Care Organizations, Medical HomesKansas Health Institute News Service examines accountable care organizations (ACOs): "In an effort to combat the lack of coordination that is widely recognized as a major shortcoming of the current health system, the new federal health reform law includes provisions intended to encourage wider use of Accountable Care Organizations or ACOs." Via Christi Health and Advantra Total Care will launch an "ACO-like model" in Kansas. Under the plan, Via Christi Vice President Janell Moerer said, enrollees "will undergo a 'wellness screening' that will be used to create a plan for their 'getting and staying healthy'" and be assigned a "navigator." Other Kansas groups are "also are assembling ACO-like plans" including ProviDRs Care Network (Ranney, 11/29).
In two related articles, KHI News Service looks at "what makes an [ACO] different from a Health Management Organization (HMO)?" and if ACOs will work in rural areas. Dennis George, "who runs the Coffey Health System hospital in the southeast Kansas town of Burlington, said creating an ACO would be difficult in a rural setting with low population" because the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services mandates a pool of 5,000 for a Medicare ACO (Ranney, 11/29).
Modern Healthcare looks at the "patient-centered medical home care-delivery model" and reports that "a few years back, the concern by some was that the concept's potential for savings would come at the expense of medical specialists who would see fewer patients. But as data from pilot medical home projects are starting to show, the savings instead are coming out of the pockets of hospitals because fewer patients need inpatient care. Consequently, hospitals are hopping on the medical home bandwagon to make sure the money leaving one of their pockets finds its way into another. Among their business strategies are converting their own hospital-owned practices into medical homes, acquiring practices already certified as medical homes and requiring practices being considered for purchase to convert. And if they can't build them or buy them, hospitals are connecting with medical homes through information technology (Robeznieks, 11/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.