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ACOs in Real Life: A Reflection on the Medicare Shared Savings Program

ACOs in Real Life: A Reflection on the Medicare Shared Savings Program


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Craig R. Behm
 
The Medicare Shared Savings Program introduced Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) as one potential method for meeting the often-cited triple aim of better individual care, improved population health, and lower cost. Built on concepts originating from HMOs and then Medicare Advantage plans, ACOs provide incentives based on total cost of care rather than any individual provider’s cost. Early quality and cost results are mixed, and, more importantly, so is physician response. The ACO program still has potential to be a bright spot for the future of healthcare, but until there is widespread physician engagement, achieving the triple aim is likely to remain elusive.