Public would support coordinated care models, survey shows

A new public survey by the Commonwealth Fund reports that 72 percent of Americans think that the current healthcare system requires a major overhaul. Keeping this in mind, many say they would support a system that depends more on coordinated care -- as reflected through proposed accountable care organizations (ACOs) -- to make these changes.

Currently, public and private payers rarely work together to address cost concerns or to coordinate policies that avoid administrative complexity, the Fund said, but the survey, "A Call for Change: The Commonwealth Fund 2011 Survey of Public Views of The U.S. Health System", found that the public appears to endorse such efforts:  86 percent of those questioned said it was important for private insurers and public payers such as Medicare to jointly negotiate prices with hospitals and physicians.

In addition, 87 percent of respondents said it was important to jointly negotiate with pharmaceutical, medical device, and imaging companies. A similar number (85 percent) said it was important for private insurers and public payers to identify and reward physicians and hospitals who excel in delivering high-quality care.

Support for these multipayer policies was strong regardless of income, region, or political affiliation, according to the survey.

The survey also found that a majority of adults had concerns about access, with 71 percent reporting problems gaining access to needed healthcare. These concerns included the inability to get timely physician's appointments, to get advice from their physician on the phone, or to obtain after-hours care without going to the emergency room.

Nearly half said they experienced poorly-coordinated care (47 percent), while more than half reported wasteful care (54 percent).

When asked about the future, 74 percent said they were worried that they won't get high quality care when they need it -- or that they won't be able to afford their medical bills if they become seriously ill.

For more details:
- see the Commonwealth Fund issue brief