ACOs a gold mine for consultants, lawyers

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The formation of accountable care organizations is proving lucrative for healthcare attorneys and consultants who are being sought after by hospitals and medical groups to help set up ACOs, reports Kaiser Health News and The Washington Post.

The frenzy for consultants is only expected to ramp up now that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Department of Health and Human Services have released their draft regulations, observers say.

"Every time there is a new programmatic initiative in D.C., there is a wave of new consulting opportunities," said Jeff Goldsmith, president of the consulting firm Health Futures and associate professor of public health sciences at the University of Virginia. "But I have never seen anything quite like this in my 35 years in this business."

The payouts are also extraordinarily handsome. The Los Angeles-area firm The Camden Group charges $30,000 to $100,000 to create an ACO implementation for a client, while some firms are charging up to $1 million to actually create an ACO.

ACOS have "all the pieces that drive consulting," said Ian Morrison, a founding partner of Strategic Health Perspectives in Menlo Park, CA. "There are legal, information technology and cultural changes needed to make it work, so lawyers are happy as hell, IT people are happy as hell and so are the management consultants."

For more information:
- Read the Kaiser Health News article 
- Visit The Camden Group's ACO Resource Center

Related articles:

ACO rule: Healthcare industry reacts with cautious enthusiasm 
The Health IT impact of the ACO rule
Unlike failed PHO initiatives, ACOs focus on clinical outcomes, not utilization
ACOs: Wolves in Sheep's Clothing
Can ACOs really cut costs?