WASHINGTON—Although the vast majority of surveyed hospitals aren't yet ready to participate in accountable care organizations (ACOs), supporters of ACOs shouldn't panic, according to a major hospital trade group, reported MedPage Today.
Three-quarters of the hospitals participating in the Commonwealth Fund's Hospitals on the Path to Accountable Care survey reported not considering ACO participation at all.
Seven in 10 said they had processes to transfer information from the acute-care setting to primary care providers (PCPs), but only one in three hospitals monitor the transition process.
ACOs are networks of doctors and hospitals that manage the health of a specific group of patients. One of the pillars of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), ACOs aim to make providers accountable for their quality as well as for the cost of care. Providers who lower their healthcare costs while improving quality receive financial rewards.
Although the report, released last week, found most hospitals weren't thinking of being in an ACO, this was the first survey given on ACO readiness, and as time wears on, more hospitals likely will be interested in participating and prepared to do so, Maulik Joshi, DrPH, senior vice president at the American Hospital Association and a co-author of the report, told MedPage Today in an interview. "It's not like we're measuring this after 10 years."
The survey authors, led by Anne-Marie J. Audet, MD, MSc, the fund's vice-president for health system quality and efficiency, also noted that the survey was conducted in September 2011, when not all final rules for ACOs had been released. "It is likely that hospital leaders were awaiting them before deciding whether to participate," the report stated.