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10 Things to Know about Accountable Care: Paper

Recommendations for providers interested in applying for ACO status

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In 2005, Elliott Fisher of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, coined the term “accountable care organization”, or “ACO”. According to Fisher and his colleagues, the new health care delivery model consists of an integrated care delivery system which compensates providers based on “shared savings.” This integrated group of skilled clinicians is held accountable for achieving quality improvements and reducing the rate of spending growth. Compared to a traditional fee-for-service model, a successful ACO incentivizes cooperation and lowers costs by encouraging quality care rather than generation of volume.

Since Fisher first coined the term, the idea has become a hallmark of health care reform. Many organizations are interested in applying for ACO status, but are unsure whether or not this is a good strategic move. Although CMS has released some general guidelines, it has yet to release the full set of regulations. As such, it is difficult to accurately quantify the risk and reward potential until these regulations are available to providers.

This paper defines three different structures for ACOs: integrated, collective, and combination. Integrated ACOs are centrally owned and operated, arising organically as a function of growth and acquisition of providers.

Read the full10 Things to Know about Accountable Care Paper.