Physicians say 'no thanks' to risky ACOs

Physicians are passing on accountable care organizations (ACO) and other alternative payment care models, Medscape reported. Only 3 percent of surveyed physicians from 25 specialty areas said they are participating in ACOs. Five percent, however, did report they plan to become involved in the coming year.

One reason that few doctors are participating in the coordinated care experiment is that they say it will hit their pocketbooks. Fifty-two percent of physicians believe it will reduce income, although 12 percent said it will have little or no effect.

"Of course, physicians are skeptical about ACOs. It's yet another set of initials coming from the government, and history shows that that means less money and less autonomy for physicians," Judy Aburmishan, a partner in FGMK, LLC, in Chicago, told Medscape.

A survey by healthcare staffing agency AMN Healthcare last summer found that physician alignment is the biggest obstacle to ACOs. Fifty-eight percent of healthcare facility administrators and physicians said they were in the process of doing so or considering it, but 42 percent did not see ACO formation in the foreseeable future. Of those who were in or considering ACOs, 42 percent said physician alignment was the primary reason for not moving toward ACOs.

"Most people are averse to change, and doctors are the same," Tommy Bohannon, divisional vice president of hospital-based recruiting for Merritt Hawkins, said in the Medscape report. "Until more ACOs are up and running, you can expect resistance and skepticism."

Bohannon added, "ACOs are still too new to have a large impact, but that could change soon."

For more information:
- read the Medscape article
- here's the Medscape survey slides

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