ACOsEpisodes of CareRiskSpecialty ServicesValue-Based Health Care
October 6, 2021

New ACO Playbook: Seven Keys to Expanding ACO Savings—and Market Share

At the beginning of this series, we laid out a basic tenet: As shared savings plan ACOs, you need to do as well or better at lowering costs than competing value-based payment models. Otherwise, your resources and support will dwindle in favor of more promising avenues to control Medicare spending, and competition will stifle your growth. We’ve examined the competition and what they offer physicians to succeed in Risk and to attract patients. The bar is high. Medicare Advantage Plans, equity-backed practices, and Management-model ACOs like Aledade have changed the playing field for physician participation and growth. ACOs Have Lost…
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ACOsFuture of Health CareRiskValue-Based Health Care
August 19, 2021

New ACO Playbook: Three Ultimate ACO Strategies to Keep Physician Practices Onboard

ACOs have zealously protected their favored status under Medicare Value-Based payment models, ensuring enough time for organizations to feel comfortable with financial risk and make investments in infrastructure. But if your own ACO is losing physicians to new equity-financed networks or to hospitals consolidating practices, more time does not help you. Primary care physicians are being picked off by your competition, and their patients go with them. Private equity firms and venture capital-funded groups have gained significant ground in acquiring physician practices, with mergers and acquisitions hitting record highs in 2019 and 2020, and accelerating in 2021. Equity firms and…
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ACOsRiskValue-Based Health Care
July 14, 2021

New ACO Playbook: 3 Approaches to Scale Up Data Sufficiency for Value-Based Care

Like every health care organization, your struggles with data may appear never-ending. Like money, there never seems to be enough of it. In this article we’ll take the mystery out of how to realistically gauge your data needs, identify the links between what you want to accomplish as an ACO or medical group in value-based payment models and those data requirements, and help you target your data efforts. Data Needs Have Scaled Up with Value-Based Care When providers were focused on meeting patient volume targets, operations systems like billing and scheduling provided an adequate basis for tracking volume and revenues.…
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ACOsAPM Performance PathwayMerit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)RiskValue-Based Health Care
May 24, 2021

New ACO Playbook: To Show Standout Performance, ACOs Must Rethink Quality

The health care media are full of articles asserting that ACOs have proven their mettle in delivering health care of highest quality. Citing ACO quality reporting results, CMS and advocates point to the majority of ACOs passing CMS quality standards, and that ACOs are improving their results on quality measures over time. The vast majority of ACOs meet quality measures, with 92 percent passing the qualification for shared savings in 2019. But is quality performance a distinguishing feature that ACOs can use competitively—and sustain the payment model’s long-term prospects? To earn permanency and competitive advantage, ACOs must show that the…
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ACOsEpisodes of CareFuture of Health CareRiskValue-Based Health Care
April 29, 2021

New ACO Playbook: Can Coordination of Care Save Enough Money to Save ACOs?

Central to the controversy about ACOs’ potential for Value-Based Care is whether they actually save enough money and reduce costs fast enough. Researchers and advocates have produced various independent studies of ACO savings, the most generous estimating $1.8 billion in cumulative savings over the first three years of the program, almost double CMS estimates. Many others, however, dismiss the small proportion of savings—at a few percentage points—relative to total Medicare spending. The previous CMS administration was clearly dubious about the shared savings model. It favored payment models that put providers at financial risk to increase cost reduction incentives, even though…
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ACOsRiskValue-Based Health Care
April 14, 2021

Why ACOs Need a New Playbook

A lot has happened in health care since 2012, when final rules permitted provider-organized ACOs to be the driving force of Value-Based Care under the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA). As we pass the ACA’s eleventh anniversary, a dwindling number of Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) ACOs are entering a new phase marked by higher expectations and more difficult economics. To succeed in this challenging environment, ACOs will need different tools going forward than first contemplated, because of competition, both from providers under new value-based payment models and from Medicare Advantage plans. They also face more skepticism. Although rule changes…
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ACOsBehavioral HealthDirect ContractingRiskValue-Based Health Care
April 5, 2021

5 Value-Based Behavioral Health Strategies for ACOs and Medical Group Models

For ACOs and Direct Contracting Medical Groups adopting value-based payment models, behavioral health is often overlooked. But your patients’ unmet behavioral health issues are a big cost driver for emergency care and inpatient admissions, and they compound risk factors in disease. They also influence your patients’ adherence to treatment plans. You may believe this is a problem you can’t resolve because behavioral health is beyond the boundaries of your participating network. Even so, you need to be aware of a significant emerging trend: integrating behavioral health in primary care. The difference between physical medicine’s approach to disease versus behavioral health…
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ACOsFuture of Health CareMerit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)RiskValue-Based Health Care
December 9, 2020

7 New Value-Based Health Care Directions You’ll See in 2021

Everyone who's reeling from 2020 is hoping for light in 2021. Health care, especially—systems, hospitals, clinical practices and their providers—wants the pain to stop. What might lie ahead for health care next year? Here's what we're thinking about the near future, and what you should watch for in 2021. 1. Health care providers will be fortified. If one thing is clear from the election results, it's that relief is coming to help providers on the pandemic’s front line. Money won't be free-flowing, but it will be targeted to areas of financial distress. We should expect initiatives to centralize purchasing and…
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ACOsEpisodes of CareRiskSpecialty Physicians
November 20, 2020

Five Strategies to Help ACOs and Independent Specialists Create Common Ground on Data Sharing

To successfully manage the 40 to 60 percent of costs of care driven by specialty physicians, your ACO must overcome one major obstacle when you begin to address specialty costs: the lack of information to guide your actions. Although ACOs have claims data to calculate total costs per ACO patient and totals for specialty services, you can't compare those costs. Why? Claims are not organized into cases or "episodes of care" that include all providers and services so that it is easier to compare case costs between patients or providers. More importantly, the small number of Medicare patients seeing any…
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ACOsBundled PaymentsEpisodes of CareRiskSpecialty ServicesValue-Based Health Care
October 22, 2020

Five Ways to Manage Specialty Costs Without Bundled Payments

When health plans and Medicare propose controlling the cost of specialty care, expect that bundled payments will be the next suggested solution. With the introduction of every new specialty-focused payment model, an episode-based bundled payment model is involved. But let's say you’re an ACO with no interest in bundled payments arrangements. You may not even think you can put the topic on the table with specialists. Or, if you are a health system or specialty practice that is trying to control total cost of care for competitive reasons, perhaps you aren't yet willing to accept fixed fees. How can you…
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