New Market Data: ACOs Can Survive a Supreme Court Challenge

Friday, June 15th, 2012
This post was written by Patricia Donovan

The accountable care organization, the number of which has doubled in the last year, is here to stay, no matter how the nation’s highest court rules on healthcare reform legislation.

So say two-thirds of respondents to the second annual survey on ACO activity conducted by the Healthcare Intelligence Network.

The nation’s highest court is expected to release its opinion on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) before the end of this month. But the majority of healthcare organizations responding to the ACO survey said the accountable care model is robust enough to survive a Supreme Court challenge.

Almost a third of this year’s respondents — 31 percent — participate in an ACO, up from 14 percent in 2011. 200 healthcare companies completed the second annual survey, which also tracked trends in ACO size, administration, lead time, and early results.

“These results make it clear that the healthcare industry is prepared to go forth with accountable care, whether or not the U.S. Supreme Court upholds PPACA,” notes Melanie Matthews, HIN executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Even though many ACOs are still in their infancy, the accountable care model is already driving improvements in care coordination and a decline in hospital readmissions for patients cared for by an accountable care organization.”

Other data highlights from the survey include the following:

  • Just over half of responding ACOs participate in the CMS Shared Savings program, an ACO for Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Physician-led ACOs are the most common, with a quarter of 2012 respondents reporting physician administration of their ACO. In contrast, the number of ACOs with a hospital at the helm has dropped dramatically, from 32 percent in 2011 to around 5 percent.
  • The typical ACO is smaller in 2012, as the number of active ACOs with 100 to 500 physicians dropped almost 50 percent in the last 12 months. One-third of current ACOs have between 1 and 100 physicians participating.
  • Staff management and buy-in is the greatest challenge organizations must overcome during ACO creation, say 21 percent of respondents.
  • Organizations have become more efficient in ACO creation: 41 percent say it took less than a year to launch the ACO, up from 25 percent in 2011.

Download a complimentary executive summary of ACO survey results.

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