Accountable Care Organizations

A group of doctors, hospitals and other health care providers collectively responsible for, and accountable for, quality and total per capita costs across the continuum of care for a patient population.  

Effects of the ACA on Health Care Cost Containment

Issue Brief
Mar. 2, 2017

This brief reviews the evidence on how key ACA provisions have affected the growth of health care costs. Coverage expansions produced a predictable jump in health care spending, amidst a slowdown that began a decade ago. Although we have not returned to the double-digit increases of the past, the authors find little evidence that ACA cost containment provisions produced changes necessary to “bend the cost curve.” Cost control will likely play a prominent role in the next round of health reform and will be critical to sustaining coverage gains in the long term.

Physicians’ Participation In ACOs Is Lower In Places With Vulnerable Populations Than In More Affluent Communities

Research Brief
Aug. 8, 2016

Early evidence suggests that accountable care organizations (ACOs) - networks of doctors and hospitals whose members share responsibility for providing coordinated care to patients - improve health care quality and constrain costs. ACOs are increasingly common in the U.S., both for Medicare and commercially insured patients. However, there are concerns that ACOs may worsen existing disparities in health care quality if disadvantaged patients have less access to physicians who participate in them. Does physicians’ ACO participation relate to the sociodemographic characteristics of their patient population, and if so, why?

Medicare, Medicaid and the Leonard Davis Institute - Intertwined Legacies

Jul. 24, 2015

Fifty years ago, on July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare and Medicare into law. Over the next two years, more than 29 million people gained health coverage through these programs. By 1967, as Alice Rivlin recalls, economists were sounding an alarm about rising Medicare costs and reporting to the President that projected growth would be unsustainable.

Physician Referrals, Delivery System Reform, and The Diffusion of Information

Jan, 2015
Principal Investigator:
Lawton R. Burns, PhD, MBA

Abstract: Physician-to-physician referrals play a central role in the health care systems and are drives of costs and quality. There is evidence that referrals are currently misused and overused and recognition that they will have to change if health reform objectives such as care coordination and cost reduction are to be achieved (Son et al., 2014). Indeed, many of the models of care supported by the Affordable Care Act (e.g., accountable care organizations (ACOs), patient-centered medical homes, bundled payments) depend on physicians making high-value referrals.

Carrots and Sticks to Reduce Readmissions and Improve Home Health Care

Oct. 1, 2014

The Affordable Care Act has generated carrots and sticks for hospitals to reduce readmissions. With the goal of achieving the Triple Aim (improving quality of patient care, improving population health, and reducing overall cost of care), innovative care delivery models are being tested locally and nationally, including the roll-out of Accountable Care Organizations and bundled payment programs. These programs create incentives in terms of shared savings for health care systems that provide high quality, coordinated care.

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