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Archive for March 15th, 2009

I’m starting to see the Term “Accountable Care Organizations” or ACO cropping up more and more.  So, I thought I might give my readers a “heads up” to be on the lookout for this concept.

Recently, MedPAC researchers argued for the use of ACO’s in order to reduce spending and improve quality of care.  Here is an article on this.

An ACO is a multi-specialty and primary care group of physician (generally tied to a hospital) which are bound together to provide care for their Medicare beneficiaries on a capitated basis.  They receive bonuses for exceeding quality of care measures and/or delivering lower than expected cost per patient.  They would get a penalty for lower quality and/or higher cost per patient.

This sounds a bit like the payment system of an HMO to me (with a fancy new name), but perhaps I’m missing something.

A major proponent of the ACO concept is the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care.  They studied Health Care spending by geographic region and published an interesting map of what Medicare costs per region.

I also found an interesting blog posting which discusses ACO’s and raises some additional questions on ACO’s.

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Here is a leaflet published by Social Security regarding the one time payment which was authorized by the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”

Basically, your clients receiving any of the above benefits (with some limited exceptions) should be automatically getting this payment by the end of May 2009.  If they don’t receive the payment by June 4th, there is information on who to contact.  Your clients should be wary of any potential scams which might ask them to disclose personal information in order to receive their payment.  This is, of course, not required.  The payment should be automatic.

Click here for leaflet:  ss_one_time_payment_250

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