The primary goals of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) were aptly named by Donald Berwick, MD, former acting CMS administrator as ‘the triple aim’: improving experience of care, improving the health of populations and reducing the per capita costs of healthcare.
In order to control costs, ACO providers voluntarily collaborate to provide efficient, high quality coordinated care to an assigned population of patients by accepting financial risk. Cost savings are generated by better coordination of care and distributed in shared savings to ACO providers, incentivizing them to contain costs. This creates an inevitable tension between cost containment and medical liability.
Like Managed Care in the 90’s, ACOs could see an increased liability exposure and vulnerability to claims is their actions and prioritization to control costs may contribute to a patient’s harm.
What can an ACO do?
- follow evidence-based practices and tie your policies to recognized standards of care
- be aware of what brings on new liability risk such as new roles, duties or requirements which if not followed could be seen as failure to meet standards of care
- organize a Medical Malpractice Insurance program for your ACO members to protect against liability risk and reduce premium
When you look to a professional to organize a Medical Malpractice Insurance program for your ACO, look for a partner who has worked with ACOs, specializes in Medical Malpractice and has access to the broad market. And do your homework: next time we will cover the five things you need to ask a Medical Malpractice carrier before you purchase coverage.