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Monday, July 29, 2013

Hospital Networks Reject ObamaCare Accountable Care Organization (ACO) initiative

Investors: Nine major hospital networks just decided they'd had enough of being "Pioneers" for ObamaCare.

They withdrew from the health reform law's Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) initiative, which launched in January 2012 with 32 health systems participating.

Health systems have cooled to the ACO concept in part because the federal government is six months behind in providing them the Medicare claims data they need to comply with the rules.

Providers are also concerned about the risks they have to assume to participate. If they don't realize the "savings" that regulators demand, they'll have to just take the loss — regardless of how much time, effort, or expense it takes to treat someone.

The intent is to force ACOs to be more efficient. But this setup gives providers substantial incentives to skimp on medical care.  

Plus, patients could potentially sue entire ACOs for medical malpractice by claiming that their "actions or policies prioritized cost savings over patient safety."

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