In 2011, the federal government initiated a program to allow providers to form Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). ACOs are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to provide coordinated high-quality care to their Medicare patients.
The goal of coordinated care is to ensure that patients get the proper care at the right time and at the right place, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors.
When an ACO succeeds both in delivering high-quality care and spending health care dollars most efficiently, the ACO shares in the savings it achieves for the Medicare program.
ACOs share in the cost savings through the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) which was established under the Affordable Care Act.
The Shared Savings Program is designed to improve beneficiary outcomes and increase the value of care by:
—Promoting accountability for the care of Medicare fee for service (FFS) beneficiaries
—Requiring coordinated care for all services provided under Medicare FFS
—Encouraging investment in infrastructure and redesigned care processes
The Shared Savings Program will reward ACOs that lower their growth in health care costs while meeting performance standards on quality of care and patient satisfaction.
Dr Saeed Khan is Chairman of the Shared Savings, Finance, and Compensation committee at Palm Beach Accountable Care Organization (PBACO). PBACO was founded in 2010 and is a wholly physician-owned and operated organization. This is unique because many other ACOs include hospitals as well as physicians. Over 600 physicians across Southeast Florida participate in PBACO. They provide services for Medicare patients from Jupiter Inlet, and Okeechobee, to Martin County south, to Miami Dade County. For the last several years, PBACO has been the most successful ACO in the country, saving the Medicare program and federal government millions of dollars.