Feb 8, 2010

Accountable Care Organizations Gaining Momentum as Cost, Quality Driver - Podcast TMA

Fee for service medicine has been under attack for decades. Insurers and employers have tried HMOs, capitation, pay for performance, and bundled payments to control health care spending or improve health outcomes. All have had little or no success.

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Now, a new health care delivery model is gaining national attention. Accountable care organizations, or ACOs, are collaborations between hospitals and physicians that assume full responsibility for all care of patients. Some have described ACOs as bundled payments, medical homes, and quality reporting all rolled into one.

In an ACO, physicians and other health care professionals have financial incentives to contain costs and improve quality by coordinating care for a specific group of patients. If they achieve quality and savings, the physicians and others in the ACO share the savings. If they don’t, they could take a finance hit.

But is ACO model really a viable effort to control cost and improve quality or is it just a new dress on an old pig? The February cover story in Texas Medicine asked that question.

In this installment of Podcast TMA, Stephen Ozanne, MD, president of the Dallas County Medical Society, and Spencer Berthelsen, MD, chair of the Kelsey-Seybold Medical Group, a large multispecialty group in the Houston area, discuss the pros and cons of accountable care organizations.

This installment covers:

  • How ACOs different from other care delivery models that were designed to cut cost and improve quality.
  • Why Congress and private institutions are pushing for rapid adoption of ACOs.
  • Reaction of Dallas-Fort Worth area physicians to plans by Baylor Health Care System to become an ACOP.
  • The likelihood that other Texas hospitals systems will move toward the ACO model.


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