Accountable Care Organizations and Quality of Care

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AccountableCare Organizations and Quality of Care

AccountableCare Organizations and Quality of Care

Accountablecare organizations consist of groups of hospitals, health careproviders, and doctors who have organized themselves intoassociations which offer coordinated, high-quality health careservices to Medicare patients (Song, 2014). The coordination ensuresthat persons suffering from chronic conditions and ailments receivequality care at the required time, therefore, preventing any arisingmedical errors and unwanted replication of health care services(Song, 2014).

Inthis model, incentives for health care providers are agreed at theorganizational level. Healthcare providers such as hospitals andphysicians accept joint responsibility for the quality of servicesoffered and the medical spending for a given population of patients(Song, 2014). These organizations and groups bear the rewards andfinancial risks that come with the ACO contracts. The qualitybonuses, shared savings, and other inducements are ascertained by howa group functions as a whole, rather than how a hospital, doctor, orphysician performs (Song, 2014).

Somemeasures have been put in place to determine whether theseorganizations qualify for shared savings. These include preventivehealth strategies, patient safety measures, care coordinationstrategies, at-risk population actions, and patient experiencemeasures of care (Albright et al., 2016). When all these measures aremet, the ACO models can save money for both patients and health careproviders by controlling waste. These organizations improve thequality of care by offering all-round care services to persons withchronic conditions, reducing wastage in the Medicare system, offeringfinancial incentives to better performing organizations, andencouraging physician-driven treatments (Song, 2014).

Ina study done in the year 2014, the ACO model registered more successcompared to the traditional care model (Blackstone &amp Fuhr, 2016).The ACO model managed to reduce the number avoidable hospitaladmissions and shortened the hospital stays for many patients. TheACO model also proved to be superior regarding efficiency compared tothe general healthcare model. The ACOs managed to reduce readmissionsby 6.3% and length of hospital stay by 3.9% (Blackstone &amp Fuhr,2016). In a period of two years, the programs managed to save about$800 million while the average quality score of the firstorganizations managed to increase from 71.8% to just over 85%(Blackstone &amp Fuhr, 2016). This study proved that ACOs improvedthe quality of care offered and that the service providers becamemore responsible for the costs of care.

Conclusion

AccountableCare Organizations are groups of healthcare service providers whohave teamed to offer health services with the aim of reducing thecost and improving the quality of care. There are some measures takento ensure there is an improvement of the quality of care offered andrecent studies have indicated that there is an increase in the numberof patients accessing services from ACOs. Although theseorganizations are facing some challenges, there is an overallimprovement in the quality of services offered.

References

Albright,B. B., Lewis, V. A., Ross, J. S., &amp Colla, C. H. (2016, March).Preventive Care Quality of Medicare Accountable Care Organizations:Associations of Organizational Characteristics With Performance.Retrieved April 02, 2017, fromhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26759974

Blackstone,E. A., &amp Fuhr, J. P. (2016, February). The Economics of MedicareAccountable Care Organizations. Retrieved April 02, 2017, fromhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4822974/

Song,Z. (2014, August 01). Accountable Care Organizations in the U.S.Health Care System. Retrieved March 30, 2017, fromhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4422096/