Reality check: What's the real motivation behind forming an ACO?

Much has been said and written about anti-competitive behavior and accountable care organizations (ACOs). Most recently, FierceHealthcare published a fascinating interview with Duke Law professor Barak Richman, who specializes in health policy and antitrust issues. Richman doesn't mince words when it comes to healthcare organizations teaming up with rivals to form an ACO.

"Some people think ACOs are a license to collaborate with their rivals. It's a license for the two radiologists in town to cooperate. And that is not at all what ACOs are supposed to do. It's actually the antithesis of that," he tells FierceHealthcare editor Sandra Yin.

With CMS poised to publish its proposed definition of accountable care organizations, Richman warns that ACOs may unwittingly incentivize healthcare organizations such as hospitals and physician practices to turbo-charge their negotiating power over private-sector purchasers.

"The biggest misconception is that we know what we're talking about when we talk about ACOs," he says. Read the interview at FierceHealthcare