As a skeptical journalist and amateur psychologist, I don’t believe much in coincidences. Things happen for a reason.
Two new and separate studies of accountable care organizations illustrate the point. But, as you read this, remember, correlation is not causation.
The first study, by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University, ran in JAMA Network Open on May 8. You can download the study here.
The second study, by researchers from Leavitt Partners, Dartmouth College, Duke University and the University of Utah, ran in the American Journal of Managed Care on May 14. You can download their study here.
In the first study, the researchers wanted to know if medical practices dropped the most vulnerable and potentially sickest and costliest patients from their patient panels after the practices joined a Medicare ACO. The researchers thought the answer would be yes, as those patients would make it less likely that the doctors would hit their ACO cost and quality targets. Less vulnerable and potentially healthier and less costly patients would make it easier to meet those targets and make more money.