Physician-led ACOs Inspire More Confidence

Employers have indicated a preference for ACOs run by physicians, rather than ones run by hospitals. They also like to see that an ACO is providing quality care while managing costs.

Employers have expressed that with upcoming changes and emerging Accountable Care Organizations they have the most confidence in a physician-led ACO that partners with a health plan, according to a survey by Beacon Partners.

The Accountable Care Organization Readiness Study surveyed more than 600 companies, and 53% were very or somewhat confident in an ACO run by a medical group working with a health plan. That confidence drops significantly to only 31% if the medical group is working alone.

As for ACOs run by hospitals, employers were slightly less enthusiastic, with only 48% reporting they would be very or somewhat confident in a hospital-led ACO working with a health plan. If that ACO didn’t have a health plan, then confidence dropped to only 30%.

Employers based their preferences on whether they felt the ACO would be able to achieve the goals they envision for an ACO. At the top of their list, 82% felt the most important aspect was quality of care, closely followed by 81% citing the ability to manage costs.

Patients were slightly further down on the list of priorities, with 66% reporting patient outcomes and 45% patient satisfaction.

Almost two-thirds reported being interested in ACOs, but 11% were not. Those for ACOs believe that they can have a positive impact because of the clinical quality reporting and medical staff alignment. However, those who were uninterested were wary of interoperable IT systems and health care connector contracting.

Almost half of hospitals, academic medical centers, ambulatory clinics and physician practices reported that they have an ACO in development, and 30% have one that’s already operational.

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