Accountable Care Organizations

Accountable Care Organizations Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The accountable care organization (ACO) concept represents a new payment and delivery model in which a group of coordinated health care providers—primary care physicians, specialists, and hospitals—are collectively accountable for the quality and cost of care delivered to a defined group of patients. By incentivizing the delivery of cost-effective, coordinated care, ACOs have the potential to generate better quality care at a lower cost, resulting in improved health outcomes and shared savings.

The featured Innovations describe two ACOs that used financial risk sharing and various improvement initiatives to reduce health care utilization and costs for defined patient populations—one that operates under an annual global budget for individuals covered by the California Public Employees Retirement System, and a county-based ACO in Minnesota that serves Medicaid beneficiaries.

The featured QualityTools include a tool for safety net providers to assess their capabilities and readiness to become ACOs and a toolkit for physicians that provides information about essential elements of a successful ACO and step-by-step implementation guidance.

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