Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

What does an ACO look like?

ACOs are all the rage, but what does a typical ACO look like ? A study by Shortell et al. (2014) attempts to answer this question using data from the National Survey of ACOs. This survey includes ACOs participating in Medicare, Medicaid, or commercial payer programs.  The authors consider eight attributes for creating an ACO taxonomy […]

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Are ACOs working?

Maybe. An press release from CMS is very upbeat on ACOs. What do the numbers say? Farzad Mostashari and Ross White review the CMS report and find that results were mixed: Of the 114 ACOs in the program, 54 of the ACOs saved money and 29 saved enough money to receive bonus payments. The 54 […]

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Medicare Reforms Linking Reimbursement Rates with Hospital Performance

Health reform not only changes the health care market for the demand side (e.g., patients, insurers), but also for the supply side (e.g., hospitals, physicians).  In the Medicare setting, a number of initiatives have aimed to pay providers who provide high-quality or low-cost care more money, and pay providers who provide low-quality or high-cost care […]

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Accountable Care Organizations: Update on Medicare Implementation

Health Reform’s Accountable Care Act (ACA) mandates the creation of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).  Dartmouth researcher Elliott Fisher stimulating much of the interest in ACOs by introducing the concept of an “extended hospital medical staff” at a 2006 meeting of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). Today, I review an article by Berenson and Burton (2011) describing […]

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Legal Barriers to ACO implementation

Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are the latest rage in health policy circles.  Health reform legislation will allow for federal health agencies to create waiver programs to allow for the creation of ACOs.  For ACOs to actually come to fruition, the waivers must take into account existing laws which currently greatly limit the scope under which […]

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Why providers love ACOs

“The good thing about the systems not being highly integrated and coordinated is that premiums are lower. Why are those hospitals and physicians [integrating]?  It wasn’t for increased coordination of care, disease management, blah, blah, blah—that was not the primary reason. They wanted more money and market share.” A Fresno, California medical group physician Using […]

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Three Tiers of Accountable Care Organizations

The Healthcare Economist has previously reviewed different forms of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).  Implementing ACOs in practice, however, may prove more difficult.  How could the government or private insurers incentivize providers to provide integrated care?  How can they incentivize providers do perform fewer services and, thus, make less money? An article by Shortell and Casalino […]

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What are Accountable Care Organizations?

Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are the latest rage in the health policy world.  The question is, what are ACOs.  The Urban Institute’s Kelly Devers and Robert Berenson try to answer the following question: “Can Accountable Care Organizations Improve the Value of Health Care by Solving the Cost and Quality Quandaries?” The goal of ACOs is […]

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