Half of hospital execs unsure of ACO participation

Even though the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates 50 to 270 ACOs will sign up, half of senior executives at hospitals and health systems are still unsure about whether to participate in the Medicare ACO program, according to a November poll conducted by KPMG, Epstein Becker Green and The JHD Group.

Out of more than 100 hospital and health system leaders surveyed, 57 percent still don't know how the final ACO rules will affect their organizations' decision to join. Meanwhile, 16 percent still plan to participate, 7 percent have been motivated by the final rules to sign up and 13 percent still plan to avoid the program.

"Our survey findings indicate that healthcare leaders are still trying to get their hands around the opportunity and the risks associated with these programs," Ed Giniat, partner and sector leader for KPMG Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals said in a press release today.

With hospital and health system execs admitting their organizations lack a comprehensive understanding of CMS programs and their financial implications, the leaders were split on where they would seek out information. Twenty percent would turn to local peers and colleagues for guidance in dealing with the transforming industry, according to the poll. Meanwhile, 19 percent would seek out an entity that can help their hospital or health system develop a strategy and vision, 18 percent would consult larger hospital systems with capital and 11 percent would utilize systems-based consulting.

"Clearly, the priority for executives is to rapidly increase their knowledge about payment model reform and to accelerate their organizations movement toward new business models," Giniat added.

Showing more hesitation and lack of involvement, only 16 percent of hospital and health system leaders said they would participate in the CMS bundled payment model within the next two years and only 14 percent plan to launch their own ACO program, according to the poll.

For more information:
- here's the press release