ACO investments result in savings beyond contract

When a medical group enters into an accountable care organization (ACO)-related contract with a payer, the benefits reach beyond just the patients covered by the ACO, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers found groups' participation in Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts' (BCBSMA) Alternative Quality Contract (AQC) was associated with savings for Medicare beneficiaries as well. Quality of care for Medicare patients, however, did not consistently improve after the groups joined the AQC, authors noted. "We found fairly substantial spillover effects in terms of savings for Medicare beneficiaries," J. Michael McWilliams, M.D., who led the research at Harvard Medical School in Boston, told Reuters Health. "The spillover effects suggest those responses [to new incentives] have been very encouraging, and that the provider groups are responding with really structural or fundamental or systemic changes in the ways they're providing care to patients." >> Read the full report from FiercePractice Management