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ACO (Accountable Care Organization), What’s That?

ACO People Diagram

The ACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) sought out to implement innovation into the medical world. Their plan was to create an improved quality of safe healthcare, while also managing to reduce costs for Medicare patients. In the beginning of 2012, the ACA accomplished their goal, and organized the ACO.

ACO (Accountable Care Organization) represents an organization of medical professionals, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. These men, women, and institutions, have voluntarily joined together to assure that health care patients get the quality treatment they deserve in a timely manner, as well as cutting down their costs for healthcare.

How Does This Program Work?

When ACO is practiced correctly, it produces a lot of savings from reducing costs. This savings goes directly back to Medicare, thus making it easier for those who cannot obtain health care to, well, obtain it! This system is a self-sustaining cycle of benefits when played out efficiently.

What Are Some of the Guidelines?

ACO is solely voluntary, so health care providers are not forced to participate in the organization. Just remember, providers all over the country have begun to provide their health care with this organization; ACO is a dear friend of Medicare, thus a dear friend of the people!

Speaking of people, anyone who has Medicare will remain with their Medicare rights. This saves health care patients from all the headaches that come along with finding a doctor. As a healthcare patient, you can choose any doctor or provider you want!

There are some alternative options offered at The CMS Innovation Center. Check these links out for more information!

How Can Providers Get Involved?

CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) provides a vast range of opportunities for healthcare providers out there who are inclining towards ACO. They provide classes, and training programs, for ACO. One program among these learning sessions is the ACO Accelerated Development Learning Sessions (ADLS), which helps the executives, and leaders, of medical establishments trek towards an ACO future.

  • Firstly, ADLS provides tools necessary to understand if the medical provider is ready for AOC; due to the different stages of development in medical guidance, not all providers are ready to start using AOC.
  • Secondly, ADLS helps medical providers form lucrative goals to obtain, and provide, a system that advocates better healthcare, treatment, and lower costs for patients.
  • Thirdly, ADLS will teach organizations interested in ACO how to develop an action plan.

Find more information on this program at the ADLS website.

Once the training process is complete, providers are faced with the choice of which program they want to use. Medicare provides many of these ACO programs for providers. The following will elaborate on some of these possible programs:

  • Medicare Shared Savings Program is a fee-for-service program that allows practitioners to become an ACO provider. If you are a provider, apply today!
  • Advance Payment ACO Model provides practitioners with a program that significantly grows incentives program for those who are in the Shared Savings Program.
  • Pioneer ACO Model is designed for the new pioneers of coordinated care. Unfortunately, this program is no longer accepting applications now.

ACO is quickly growing as Medicare’s strong right hand. This system is not just good for the patients, but also for providers and the healthcare establishment. We highly recommend you consider implementing ACO into your practice, but make sure you are in a current stage of development that will allow this. Stay updated with ACO news at the CMS website, as they are always up to speed with what you need to know about ACO!

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