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What is an ACO?

On March 31st the US Dept of Health & Human Services released the proposed accountable care organization (ACO) regulations.  ACO takes up only seven pages of the massive new health law yet is the most talked about provision.

An ACO is where doctors, clinics or hospitals unite in groups or network to to manage the healthcare needs  of Medicare beneficiaries with the goal of providing quality care while trimming spending.  When the group can show that it is improving care and delivers it for less than the cost projected, a share of the savings goes to the ACO's bottom line.  It's a new and latest version of managed care and share risks directly with a provider managed network.

Related Articles:
  1. Accountable Care Organizations, Explained (by Jenny Gold, NPR)
  2. The Model of the Future? (By Avery Johnson, WSJ

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