In 2012, the ACA found an excessive amount of readmissions of patients that were hospitalized within 30 days for the same medical conditions. This factor viewed under the ACA as a quality issue and CMS implemented value-based incentive payments based on performance in a set of quality measures. The plan is to implement a pay for performance (P4P) in formulas used by Medicare to reimbursement providers. “The objective is to link reimbursement to quality and efficiency as an incentive to improve the quality of health care, as well as reduce system-wide costs” (Shi and Singh, 2015). In addition to the P4P, nonprofit hospitals also focus on continual improvement, data and cost containment throughout the organization (Adamopoulos,
Healthcare is often driven by consumers and insurance companies; there is strong pushes for insurance companies to start paying better through Patient Care Medical Homes (PCMH) or Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) rather than paying at a per-visit basis (Hamlin, 2015). With PCMH or ACOs payment is made on a continuum of care, encouraging the provider to be involved in all aspects affecting health of the patient (Derksen, & Whelan,
Health System Reform in the United States: Impact of Rising Premiums and Opportunities for System Improvements to Enhance Access to Healthcare Services
The Arkansas Health Care Payment Improvement Initiative (“AHCPII”) is one part of the health care innovations the state has implemented with the aim of “increas[ing] health care quality and reducing the costs of care.” The AHCPII’s intent is to shift Arkansas’s payment system from “one that primarily rewards service volume to one that rewards desired outcomes, particularly with respect to quality and affordability.” Applying to Medicaid, Medicare, and private payers, payment innovation will move away from fee-for-service health care (where quantity all too often trumps quality) to pay for quality. In doing so, the hope is that Arkansas will gain a “new, sustainable model of financing” with the help of a multi-payer leadership and support.
There has been discussion to have universal healthcare system similar to Medicare as a method to have a centralized monitoring system of cost. There have also been other systems tried beginning with HMOs in the 1970s in an effort to streamline access to necessary healthcare services by employing a gatekeeper to their access at the primary care levels. With patient dissatisfaction, PPOs were tried which circumvent the necessity of referrals (Hacker, 1998). Either of these models had substantial effect on healthcare outcomes while the cost of healthcare continued to skyrocket. The US spends more than any other country on healthcare but outcomes are not better (Blackstone, 2016). In 2010, under President Obama’s leadership, Affordable Care Act was passed and one of the promising features is the formation of accountable care
The Accountable Care Organization (ACO) are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high-quality care to their Medicare patients (McCarty, B., 2016). For example, Medicare Shared Savings Program was created by The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services to monitor and establish that all ACO’s are meeting the quality performance benchmarks and reduce Medicare spending by certain percentages (H., 2017). The growth of ACO’s from 2011 to 2016 is astonishing, in 2011 there was 64 ACO’s and by 2016 they have risen to 838 in the U.S. (H., 2017).
This paper will discuss what the Accountable Care Organization is, why did Congress include it in their law, benefits and challenges for physicians and patients, and how does the ACO work for patients. We will also identify the quantitative methods in the ACO and reflect on the information provided.
Hospitals should be encouraged to participate because improving hospital care is likely to be essential to success (McClellan et al, 2010). Accountable care organizations can be implemented through different payment models. These could include opportunities to share in demonstrated savings within a fee-for-service environment, in which providers took on no new financial risk. They could also include limited or substantial capitation arrangements, in which payments were unrelated to the volume of services provided, to the intensity of service use, or to the frequency of face-to-face meetings, and in which providers took on some financial risk for poor-quality results or failure to control costs (McClellan et al,
In the past few years the American health care system has changed in many ways. First there was the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which is a law that is giving Americans the opportunity to obtain health care. Under this new law, in 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services decided to create Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) to help doctors, hospitals and other providers better coordinate care (AthenaHealth.com). The first idea of an Accountable Care Organization was brought up in 2006 by Elliot Fisher, MD, and now there are over 400 in the United States (Healthcatalyst.com). An ACO’s primary job is to improve health care delivery, performance, and payment. This is done through physicians and
The accountable care organization I researched is called the Physician Organization of Michigan ACO (POM ACO). The POM ACO is a joint venture of the U-M Health System and physician groups around the state, with the aim of improving care for 81,000 Michiganders enrolled in traditional Medicare and slowing the growth of health care costs, according to the announcement by the U-M Health System (Daly, 2013). The group was launched on January 1, 2013 under the Medicare Shared Savings Program. 12 physician organizations from around Michigan came together to take part in a Medicare-sponsored program that strives to improve on the quality of care for traditional Medicare recipients, while also containing cost growth. In 2014, POM ACO expanded to include all the University of Michigan faculty physicians and thousands of other providers from the University of Michigan Health System. The POM ACO is now one of the largest accountable care organizations nationwide. More than 5,700 physicians and other providers are now involved in the POM ACO. Therefore, the POM ACO is organized as a physician-hospital organization. Hence, the patient has more flexibility in where and how their care is delivered. The patient can still use any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare at any time.
Kaiser Health News recently published an article on a new trend in healthcare. This trend introduces the Accountable Care Organization (ACO). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services defines it as “groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high quality care to their Medicare patients” (“Accountable Care Organization,” 2015). According to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the goal of the ACO is to be able to share health cost-savings with providers who are able to save money by eliminating unnecessary procedures and reduce health costs while increasing quality of care. ACOs make health professionals become more accountable in maintaining good-quality, coordinated healthcare for a patient through a value-based system that is evaluated through a number of criteria and benchmarks (Ronai, 2011).
The Accountable Care Act put in motion a change from a volume based system to a value based system. With this change, primary-care organizations become the frontline healthcare providers. These organizations drive both individual and continuity of care for their patients. Because chronic conditions account for a large portion of overall healthcare expenditures, having high-performing primary care organizations is quite important. According to Willard and Bodenheimer (2012) there are six building blocks for high-performing primary care organizations:
The American health care system has been victim to an escalation in the prices of health care services juxtaposed with inefficiency in delivery of care services. There has even been cases where State spending on the actual health care increased dramatically in the United States and one of the key components of curbing this problem which has been prevalent over the mass media and has been a major discussion among physicians is the advent of Accountable Care Organizations. Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) is structured with the goal of trying to improve health care delivery and aid in the reduction of the overall cost of services (Weissert & Weissert, 2012). If there is insufficient coordination of high quality care delivery in the health care industry, this will have a negative impact on patient safety and diminish affordable care for patients. Hence, the development of ACOs is envisioned to be the savior of medical practices and can improve the overall fabric of the American society (Bresnick, 2013). ACOs serves as one of the answers for curbing the problem of high costs, low quality care and possible segmented delivery and as much as it serve as the major determinant for improvement in patient satisfaction, there are minor
The concepts of accountable care and triple aim are somewhat similar in nature with an encompassing goal of quality patient care. Accountable care emphasizes the provision of value-driven care that involves improving the patient health outcomes, reducing the amount of chronic illnesses among patients, and reducing the cost of health care within the United States through improved collaboration and coordination (Hacker & Walker, 2013). Similarly, the formulation of the triple aim by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement or IHI addresses three of the main problems facing the US health care system today namely: high cost, low quality, and poor health status (Tanenbaum, 2017). These two approaches dwells on the belief that precisely calibrated financial incentives will produce socially desirable ends (McCarthy, 2015). Their goals are somewhat aligned
The positive outcomes that have resulted due to value base programs have caused the model to gain traction and ignite one of the largest changes in history in the health care marketplace. By linking reimbursements to service quality, insurers such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have facilitated a massive leap forward in the performance of United States health care providers. This achievement is a considerable accomplishment in the face of an institution that has received reimbursement from insurers via a fee-for-service model during the last 75 years. Soon, valued based payment models will represent the norm as more insurers support initiatives such as shared savings program, integrated clinical care, and accountable care payment models.