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Understanding Accountable Health Care Organizations (Boston Globe)

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Accountable care organizations are designed to improve the care of Medicare patients while lowering the costs of treating them. For doctors, this means a much-needed shift from quantity of care to quality of care. If the hospital and doctor groups cut the cost of treating their Medicare patients, they will get to keep a portion of what they save, with the rest going to the government. If they overspend, they could be stuck covering the extra costs themselves. For patients, this could mean a number of positives, including greater access to care, better communication between various medical groups (say, a hospital physician and a therapist at a rehabilitation center), and a chance to weigh in on their quality of care in a patient survey CMS will conduct each year.