ACOs Seen As Tough Sell, Despite Concessions
Even with approving nods for the changes announced last week in the final rules for Medicare accountable care organizations, observers who spoke with HealthLeaders Media say the program will remain a tough sell for most healthcare providers.
"I'm still not optimistic we are going to see a rush to the ACO door," said Michael Regier, general counsel and senior vice president of legal and corporate affairs for VHA Inc., the hospital purchasing group. "For organizations that today are not quite far along the clinical integration route there is still an enormous investment required in infrastructure. Even with the improvement in rules, I don't know that the opportunity for return of capital is going to be sufficient enough to entice folks into this care model."
ACCESS. INSIGHT. ANALYSIS.
Join the HealthLeaders Media Council
Get members-only access to industry-wide intelligence, forecasts, and analysis positions your organization to benchmark against your peers, identify and respond to key trends shaping healthcare, and make sound business decisions.
Nathan Kaufman, managing director of San Diego, CA-based Kaufman Strategic Advisors, LLC, is blunt. "My advice is to be a fast follower. Let somebody else do this," he says. "If they figure out how to make it work, these people will quit their jobs and become consultants and you can learn quickly from them how to do it."
On Thursday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued the long-awaited final rule for ACOs under the Medicare Shared Savings Program. After facing a barrage of criticism last spring when the proposed rules were made public, CMS backed down on several key points in the final product.
For example, CMS reduced from 65 to 33 the number of performance measures that providers would have to meet, removed the electronic health records requirement, eliminated financial risk for some providers, and switched from retrospective to prospective identification of the ACO patient population.
John Kelly, MD, managing director of Chicago-based Huron Healthcare, says that still won't be enough to lure many providers off the sidelines.
- Ebola: Health Officials Try to Quell Front Line Fears
- Reducing Readmissions Starts with Better Collaboration
- Ebola: A New Normal in Dallas
- Readmissions: No Quick Fix to Costly Hospital Challenge
- Partners HealthCare M&A Deal Under Scrutiny
- 'Overtreatment' Debate Circles Back to Lung Cancer Screening
- Defensive Medicine Still Prevalent Despite Tort Reform
- Health Literacy Month Gets a Boost from Payers
- Debate Over Consolidation's Effect On Cost Rages On
- How Educated Nurses Save Money