Execs to cautiously join ACOs, unsure of impact on quality

Even though most believe their institutions will join, healthcare executives are on the fence about the impact of accountable care organizations (ACO) on hospital quality, according to a hospital executive survey released by U.S. News and Fidelity Investments yesterday.

Surveying more than 1,800 hospitals, researchers found that 66.4 percent of respondents were likely or extremely likely that their hospital would join an ACO. Only 3.7 percent said that joining an ACO was not at all likely.

Despite moving in the ACO direction, healthcare executives were unsure whether ACOs would significantly improve the quality and efficient delivery of healthcare. On a scale from one to five (with one being extremely likely and five being not at all likely), 33.6 percent believed ACOs would likely affect quality and effectiveness (a rating of one or two), whereas 29.2 percent thought ACOs' improvement on quality was not likely (a rating of four or five). Another 36.9 percent were unsure (a rating of three).

Regardless of whether ACOs actually affect quality, most healthcare executives (88 percent) reported that their compensation of salary and/or bonus was tied to benchmarks and quality of care and safety goals.

Also in the survey, healthcare executives ranked increased post-reform reimbursement, regulation and oversight, full electronic health record integration, and uncompensated care, among their chief concerns.

For more:
- check out the survey