The passage of the Affordable Care Act sparked many innovative care delivery and payment reform models. One unique model that emerged from this trend was the accountable care organization (ACO).
In this model, groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers voluntarily come together to deliver coordinated, high-quality care to patients. The organizations achieve their goals using a universal budgeting system and value-based reimbursement.
“An accountable care organization is an entity that takes responsibility for the total cost of care for the patients it serves, regardless of whether or not it directly provides that care for their patients,” explained Ed McGookin, MD, chief medical officer of Coastal Medical, an ACO based out of Providence, Rhode Island. “We’re responsible for all the costs of care incurred.”