Health Care Transformation Task Force Recommends Key Strategies for Potential ACOs
| Posted On Nov 03, 2015 | By: Atrius Health
At Atrius Health, we strongly support sharing best practices so that more health systems may contribute to the growing movement to provide high-quality, cost-effective care as Accountable Care Organizations. As a member of the Health Care Transformation Task Force, we recently took part in a collaboration with providers, patients, payers and purchasers to develop an Action Memo outlining best practices for entering into an effective ACO agreement.
In an interview with FierceHealthcare, Atrius Health VP of Population Health Emily Brower spoke about the memo, emphasizing patients as major contributors in developing recommendations for increasing quality of care and the level of patient engagement. The Action Memo, “Key Elements to Consider in ACO Agreements,” shares three key strategies for health systems considering a transition into the ACO space:
- Patient Experience and Access – The memo identifies practical contracting strategies to promote patient centered care, including a focus on the importance of the primary care relationship, coordination and communication, access to timely care, and best practices for care management. To establish a successful ACO, the memo highlights the importance of selecting a designated population with a sufficient number of patients and calls for a robust information exchange that drives transparency and accountability.
- Financial Structure – The memo provides guidance on the financial models necessary for a successful ACO to improve the patient experience, quality of care, and lower cost. This section explores whether the model should be based on historical claims experience or community ratings and local cost trends and stresses that effective ACO contracts should clearly define the financial responsibility between the purchaser, payer, provider and/or patient. Additionally, parties entering into contracts should have a well-defined benchmark or global budget and performance period. As circumstances may change over time, contracts should allow for ongoing access to data and periodic reviews to make necessary adjustments.
- Quality of Care – The memo also focuses on clinical management and models of care, outlining the importance of establishing whether clinical management will lie with one source or be shared among multiple stakeholders. The authors share insights for setting and monitoring key quality measures to ensure patients always have access to necessary care.
As more health systems transition into Accountable Care, it is important that the health care community supports their efforts to provide the best care at an affordable price. We hope that these recommendations will help inform health systems and aid them in developing effective strategies for entering ACO agreements.