Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs)
ACOs are groups of doctors and healthcare providers, usually including a hospital that coordinate and provide a full range of health care services with the goal of reducing costs.
The Affordable Care Act provides financial incentives for providers who join together to form such organizations and who agree to be accountable for the quality, cost, and overall care of their patients.
‘Coordination’ between members of an ACO could mean shortening hospital stays, for example – anything that reduces overall cost of treatment. Each ACO will treat five thousand or more Medicare patients. If the ACO reduces costs, each caregiver gets a financial bonus from the federal government. The less it costs to care for a senior, the more doctors and hospitals earn.