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Accountable care organizations (ACOs) have become a popular topic of speculation in health policy and clinical care. Accountable care sets up an alternative payment track alongside fee for service (FFS): a group of clinicians, and possibly hospitals and other participants in health care delivery, receive higher payments if they reduce growth in health expenditures for a defined population of patients while maintaining or improving outcomes and patient experience.1 By diminishing the link between payments and the volume and intensity of traditionally reimbursed medical services, the health care organization can redirect clinician time and other resources to activities that are poorly compensated but matter more for improving outcomes and lowering costs for particular patients.
McClellan M. Accountable Care Organizations and Evidence-Based Payment Reform. JAMA. 2015;313(21):2128-2130. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.5087