The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will be joining with federal health agencies Oct. 5 to host a workshop on “accountable care organizations” (ACOs).
An ACO is a provider group that takes responsibility for the cost and quality of care given to a designated group of patients.
An ACO could be a multispecialty group practice, which might or might not be a high-tech, high-touch “medical home”; a multispecialty group practice linked to a hospital; or an association of independent health care providers.
The Affordable Care Act, the legislative package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), has a provision that will make the ACO model an official part of the Medicare program starting in 2012.
The providers in a Medicare ACO can split the financial gains resulting from improvements in the quality and cost of the care they provide.
Medicare already has tried ACO pilots, and private carriers also have been experimenting with ACO programs.