4. These are NOT mandates
There are certain changes that you have to make in your healthcare system to remain in business. You have to pursue ICD-10 readiness. You don't have to pursue an ACO construct. Ultimately, for you, it may be as simple as that.
"My general philosophy is that healthcare systems that work toward doing the right thing for patients and patient care will be the winners in the end," Whittington says. "If we put all our effort into complying with the exact rules of the ACO model, in the end, we're often working against ourselves internally..If we focus on what it's going to take to enter patient-centered care, that's probably a better path to take."
One of the good things about ACOs is that it forces a conversation about healthcare costs that needs to be had with a serious intent in this country, says Whittington. There will be opportunities, even if you don't dive into the ACO model right now, to bite off little chunks that make sense for your patients and business model now, and that will also make sense under an ACO model.
"We see these things as mandates. But they're really not," Whittington says. "Unless you really have the model worked out and you're sure you can make a margin, why jump in?"