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Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) have captured the imagination of acute and post-acute care providers since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) authorized public support for these local health collaboratives.
However, according to Growth and Dispersion of Accountable Care Organizations, a new report from Leavitt Partners, ACOs are not a new phenomenon by any means. The Utah consulting firm identified 164 “ACO entities” that are already operating around the country, many of them with support from private payers.
The Leavitt report loosely defines ACOs as organizations seeking to be “financially accountable for the health care needs of a population, manage the care of that population and bear that responsibility at an organizational level.”
The report maintains that some health care organizations have been bearing risk and coordinating care for decades, but just haven’t called themselves ACOs. Now, in the wake of the ACA, these organizations are adopting the ACO nomenclature while making only modest changes to their care process.
Summary of Results
The 164 ACOs identified by Leavitt were located in 41 states. Ninety-nine were sponsored by hospital systems, 38 by physician groups and 27 by insurers. Among other findings from the report: