Last week the federal government did its best to reignite enthusiasm around the so-called accountable care organizations, making significant changes that are meant to coax doctors and hospitals to come on board.
Accountable care organizations, or ACOs, are a centerpiece of the 2010 health reform law that aim to get doctors and hospitals to work together to keep patients healthier. The interim rule released in March was panned by doctors and hospitals expected to volunteer for the program.
The revisions include allowing ACOs to operate without financial risk and will let ACOs collect a full bonus once they hit a savings target; the interim rule would have kept the first 2 percent of savings for the federal government.
They also eliminate a confusing and unpopular provision that would have kept patients and doctors in the dark about who was actually included in an ACO, and they slash the number of quality measures doctors and hospitals will have to report from 65 to 33.
Are these changes enough to attract wary doctors and hospitals back to the ACO drawing board? Will ACOs help change how America pays for its health care?