ACOs treat 10% of patients, to boost primary care recruitment

Up to 31 million Americans--or 10 percent of the population--now receives healthcare through an accountable care organization (ACO), according to a new report from consulting firm Oliver Wyman.

In July, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that more than 2.4 million Medicare beneficiaries will be receiving care from more than 150 ACOs participating in the Affordable Care Act's Medicare Shared Savings Program, Forbes noted. Broadly defining ACOs as a "catch-all term for providers participating in population-oriented, value-based care delivery and reimbursement models," the Oliver Wyman report predicted big ACO growth in the private sector, as well.

In particular, the report, "The ACO Surprise," stated that about 2.4 million Medicare beneficiaries were receiving care via the different Medicare ACO programs; another 15 million non-Medicare patients received care at these Medicare ACOs, and 8 million to 14 million are part of ACOs run by large national and regional insurers for their non-Medicare populations.

"We anticipate not just more new participants but far more patients per organization, as many larger health systems, which have been slower to apply, finally join in," the report says.

According report coauthor Richard Weil, the existence of ACOs in a market pushes others in the area to create or join ACOs, a trend he said would intensify the existing tough competition to recruit and retain primary care physicians, noted Healthcare Finance News.

"Patients are going to be attributed to primary care physicians and primary care physicians have to choose one, and only one, ACO; they can't be a part of more than one ACO," Weil said.

To learn more:
- see the report (.pdf) from Oliver Wyman
- read the article from Healthcare Finance News
- see the post from Forbes

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