Med groups take 'wait-and-see' approach to ACOs PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 06 July 2011 05:02

The challenges of creating or optimizing an accountable care organization (ACO) currently rank among the top five pressures faced by medical groups, according to a recent survey from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). And with the difficulty of achieving a return on investment from an ACO as the proposed rule is drafted, medical groups' concerns could be valid.

The idea of two-way risk-sharing, a way of penalizing ACO participants that don't achieve savings, is troublesome for medical groups, according to a recent article in New York's Democrat and Chronicle. "The risk-sharing part wasn't in the legislation," Donald Moy, an attorney with the law firm of Kern, Augustine, Conroy & Schoppmann, told the newspaper. Moy's firm represents the New York Medical Society, which has been skeptical of ACOs.

Even though the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Pioneer ACO Model offers early adopters the opportunity to reap rewards quickier, critics say that it may be nearly impossible for less prepared organizations to recoup the cash needed to hire staff, enhance IT, and make the myriad of other investments required to create an ACO.

"The estimates I've heard is that it would cost $2 million to $3 million just to set one up, with IT costs and the rest," Nancy Adams, executive director of the Monroe County Medical Society, told the newspaper.

Even organizations that were originally intrigued by ACOs, such as the Greater Rochester Independent Practice Association in New York, have backed off amid the uncertainty.

"We're taking a wait-and-see approach at this time. I will say that the idea of integrated care is one whose time has come, whether you call it ACOs or something else," said association President Dr. Joseph Vasile. "But to set one up under the rules would be a major undertaking."

To learn more:
- read the article from the Democrat and Chronicle

Related Articles:
Cleveland Clinic, leading hospitals blast ACOs
Why ACOs are still a hard sell
Blue Shield ACO keeps premiums low, could be model for others


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