The Chicago Tribune, July 5, 2011
Encouraged by the healthcare overhaul, medical providers are slowly moving toward accountable care organizations, where health care providers are working to better coordinate the treatment of elderly patients insured by Medicare. Some of the ideas include more electronic record keeping and specialized case managers to keep closer tabs on patients. The hope is that medical care will improve and costs will be reduced. Medicare would share the savings with providers. The program is voluntary so all patients will continue to get the same benefits under traditional fee-for-service Medicare. Similar programs are popping up elsewhere in the private insurance market, including in the Chicago area, as health plans look for new ways to save money. But Medicare is moving aggressively under the Affordable Care Act to move away from the existing fee-for-service program, which pays doctors and hospitals no matter how care turns out.