The answer to solving a healthcare crisis that exacerbates barriers to care among some of the most vulnerable patient populations in the country is staring us in the face. For rural hospitals straining under the weight of erratic patient volumes, sicker populations and lack of funding, the path forward is in value-based care. But providers can’t stand idly by waiting for the government to step in and help them make that change. They need to save themselves.
That may sound like a big lift for providers even under the best of circumstances, let alone in the midst of a pandemic that caused 14 rural hospitals to close last year alone. The good news, though, is there is a way out of the darkness, and it starts with embracing an accountable care organization (ACO) model.