ACO growth doubles in past year

Even if the Supreme Court strikes down the healthcare law this month, two-thirds of providers say accountable care organizations will survive the repeal, according to a survey by business publisher Healthcare Intelligence Network this month.

ACOs have doubled in the past 12 months, with a third (31 percent) of survey respondents participating in an ACO this year, up from 14 percent in 2011, according to a company statement. The growth is largely due to the fact that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services launched the Pioneer ACO Program in January and the Medicare Shared Savings Program in April.

Like another ACO report last week, the data indicate physicians are taking the helm and leading ACO development. A quarter of the Healthcare Intelligence Network respondents said physicians are administrating their ACO.

According to intelligence business firm Leavitt Partners, the number of ACOs sponsored by physician groups has nearly doubled from 38 to 70 ACOs in the past eight months.

However, while Healthcare Intelligence Network noted that hospital-sponsored ACOs dropped dramatically (from 32 percent in 2011 to around 5 percent this year), Leavitt Partners said hospital-led ACOs grew (from 99 to 118 ACOs as the primary backers).

Although the data demonstrate that ACOs are growing, Healthcare Intelligence Network respondents cited barriers, including staff management and buy-in as the greatest challenge (21 percent), followed by cost (17 percent) and clinical integration (14 percent).

To learn more:
- here's the announcement (registration required)
- see the survey (purchase required)

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