Lessons learned in ACO development

A white paper by the Integrated Healthcare Association examines lessons learned from ACO development in California. 

Ten key lessons outlined in the paper are:

  • An organization's capabilities, culture, infrastructure and goals are as important as organizational structure in delivering high quality, coordinated care;
  • Aligning incentives between hospitals and physician organizations can offer opportunities for performance improvement;
  • Payment methods should vary across ACOs depending on an organization’s ability to assume risk;
  • Health plans working together on payment methods and performance measurement can play a key role in ACO development;
  • ACOs are not a panacea for health care spending control;
  • ACOs must be agnostic to insurance type;
  • Balancing patient choice with the desire to decrease costs and effectively coordinate care is a challenge of ACO development;
  • Regulating the financial solvency of health care provider organizations is essential to ensuring market stability;
  • Consumer protections from capitated provider organizations should not be burdensome;
  • Special attention must be given to establishing ACOs in areas with social and economic challenges.

(Source: Integrated Healthcare Association White Paper, http://www.iha.org, October, 2010)