Is there an ACO in your future? – Understanding the hospital’s role in accountable care organizations
Abstract: Health care reform will significantly expand patient access, yet major problems remain with the U.S. health care system. Overall costs are unsustainable, and several health-outcome measures lag behind other industrialized countries. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) includes provisions to address these issues through aggressive promotion of accountable care organizations (ACOs). This article explains what an ACO does, and discusses three PPACA programs that directly affect ACOs. It also suggests how to form an ACO and offers special tips for hospitals. A sidebar looks at legal impediments to forming an ACO.