Some Physicians Embrace Accountable Care Organizations to Control Medicare Costs for Baby Boomers, Seniors

Earlier this week, USA Today reported that “health care providers are embracing Accountable Care Organizations… as they try to control rising Medicare and health care costs.”

The report said physician groups are embracing ACOs to help them control rising Medicare and health care costs, but some say the new rules don’t adequately focus on the needs of Baby Boomers:

If hospitals can save money by reducing hospital admissions and helping their patients avoid crisis situations or by not paying twice for the same test, they get to keep the extra cash paid by either insurance companies or Medicare. In the case of Medicare’s new Accountable Care Organizations, they would keep a portion of the savings based on what Medicare would expect to pay that provider without an ACO. But if Medicare loses money, so does the provider, so businesses that go in on the ACO pilot must accept some risk.

An ACO is a patient-centered organization where groups of providers collaborate to manage and coordinate the care of Medicare beneficiaries.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is proposing a rule under the health care reform law to help doctors, hospitals and other health care providers improve care and reduce costs for Medicare patients through the Medicare Shared Savings Program and Accountable Care Organizations.

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What do you think? Are ACOs part of the answer to soaring health care costs for Baby Boomers and seniors?

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