On Thursday, May 11, 2011, I had the pleasure of talking to the Wisconsin Medical Group Management Association about Accountable Care Organizations (ACO). It was truly a pleasure to discuss what I believe to be the future of health care delivery. I answered the question: “Will ACOs live up to the hype?,” in the affirmative. I believe that ACOs offer a sensible way of providing care in light of the forthcoming changes from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, should the U.S. Supreme Court find the Act constitutional.
Regardless of the U.S. Supreme Court’s forthcoming decision, however, I believe the ACO movement is still worth health care stakeholder consideration.
During the presentation I described the current landscape of negotiations between providers and payers, and informed the audience as to how ACOs and other parts of the Affordable Care Act will ease the current tensions and help these stakeholders work toward the common goal of providing patient-centered care. Because insurers will have less flexibility in increasing premiums, insurers will not be as willing to accommodate provider cost increases. Therefore, providers and payers will be forced to find alternative ways to work with one another. I believe an attractive option is through the ACO vehicle.
The ACO holds the promise of delivering appropriate, seamless care to patients. The ACO concept embodies the other, much less-discussed piece to the Affordable Care Act that strives to improve health care quality and efficiency.