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June 2013

Accountable Care Organizations in Pediatrics: Irrelevant or a Game Changer for Children?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Homer); and Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform, The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC (Dr Patel).

JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(6):507-508. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.105

The term accountable care organization (ACO) is the new buzzword in health care. Enshrined in the Affordable Care Act as well as being advanced by private payers, ACOs are becoming real in adult health care systems and are starting to appear in pediatrics. (Indeed, the Affordable Care Act calls for the establishment of a pediatric demonstration project, although the specified starting time for the project [June 2012] has passed without any guidance from the US Department of Health and Human Services.) But, what is an ACO? What does it intend to accomplish? Is it relevant for child health and health care? What concerns need to be addressed for ACOs to benefit children?