Understanding Accountable Care Organizations (ACO)

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What are Accountable Care Organizations?

Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers who come together voluntarily to give coordinated care to the patients and populations they serve. By coordinating efforts, ACOs help ensure that patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care they need without duplicating services.

The goal of collaborative care is to ensure that patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary service duplication and medical errors.

To lower costs and ensure consistently high-quality care, groups of physicians and hospitals are embracing value-based care delivery models and becoming Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) to provide collaborative care. ACOs cover roughly 37 to 43 million patients nationally and accept financial risk for both the quality and cost of care.

When an ACO succeeds both in delivering high-quality care and spending dollars more wisely, it shares the savings it achieves from the Medicare program.

Medicare ACO programs

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Medicare Shared Savings Program
A program that helps Medicare fee-for-service providers become an ACO

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Advance Payment ACO Model
A supplementary incentive program for selected participants in the Medicare Shared Savings Program

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Pioneer ACO Model
A program designed for early adopters of collaborative care (no longer accepting applications)


Requirements for ACO success

Collaborative care is not any one out-of-the-box or plug-and-play product or service. It is a very business- and staff-intensive concept framed and supported first by proper business planning and then by the optimal use of organizational, clinical, financial, and technical resources by knowledgeable staff. To achieve collaborative care, ACOs need a sustainable and versatile EHR solution.

The right tools, resources, and expertise

At NextGen Healthcare, we are committed to providing our clients with the tools, resources, and expertise they need to reach their ACO, meaningful use (MU), and Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) goals. We provide infrastructure and solutions that enable the connectivity and interoperability required for success with the new care delivery and reimbursement models.

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