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10 payer-driven accountable care organizations

ACOs shift industry toward payment reform, improved care

Accountable care organizations (ACO) have the potential to shift the healthcare industry toward payment reform and improved care, as long as they successfully coordinate the complete spectrum of care across different delivery sites, according to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

ACOs also must use electronic medical records, adhere to cost-effective guidelines for diagnosis and treatment and monitor clinical and financial performance.

The authors contend that payers have the necessary operational infrastructure, including access to capital, depth of professional management, expertise in managing financial risk and IT systems, to create and manage fruitful ACOs.

Indeed, many payers already have stepped up to the plate, contributing to the 38 percent increase in ACOs in the past six months, as they create ACOs with hospitals, physician groups, medical clinics and other providers in the hopes of lowering costs and improving care. Of the more than 200 ACOs that intelligence business firm Leavitt Partners identified in its report this week, 6 percent are insurer-provider ACOs.

Here's a summary of the payer-driven ACOs created since November 2011.