Patients receiving primary care outside of their defined accountable care organization (ACO) network drive up costs for ACOs, a recent study from Portland State University said.
The Medicare Shared Savings program sparked the growth of ACOs. These payment models intend to reduce healthcare costs while improving patient care through care coordination among a network of participating providers.
Those involved in the model work to keep patients in the network of providers, usually emphasizing primary care services. ACOs want to reduce healthcare costs by eliminating unnecessary emergency department utilization and by caring for problems in primary care when appropriate rather than pointing patients to costly specialists. ACOs also emphasize addressing the social determinants of health to help the route cause of a patient’s medical challenges.