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What You Need to Know about Medicare ACOs

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) affected more than just the uninsured. It also made changes in how Medicare beneficiaries receive care from their doctors. The model of a sole practitioner or two doctors practicing together are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. In 2013, 40 percent of doctors were part of a practice that was part of a hospital or health system and this number is expected to rise. Part of this increase is due to the rise in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).

An ACO is a group of healthcare providers that work together to oversee patient care and disease management. The ACO allows providers to share information and coordinate patient care by using electronic records. By doing this, patients receive complete care for all their health needs. Click here to learn more about in-home care in Summit and find out how local providers such as Home Care Assistance are working with professionals in both the medical and senior communities to enhance care.

ACOs are reimbursed based on how well they adhere to the quality measures Medicare has in place. There is danger that an ACO may tweak their results to look better in the eyes of Medicare in order to receive bonuses. However, Medicare uses 33 separate quality components including how well doctors work together, if patients are receiving the appropriate preventive care, the patients’ perception of their care and if they are being harmed in any way as a result of their care.

Medicare chose to publically release quality data to the public regarding treatment on some of the more common conditions patients face. The release of the data is designed to help patients be better healthcare consumers, since the data provides valuable information on patient outcomes.

There are more than 250 Medicare approved ACOs in the US that care for about 4 million Medicare patients. Patients covered by an ACO are free see any doctor and are not limited to those within the ACO. With the focus on proactive care and financial incentives to keep patients healthy, ACOs will help Medicare recipients receive quality care before they become ill.

If your aging parent or loved one suffers from an age related illness and needs assistance at home, contact Home Care Assistance of Summit today. We are a leading provider of in-home care and help with activities of daily living, personal care and transportation and also offer specialized services for those who require dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and stroke care in Summit. To learn more or to schedule a complimentary, no obligation consultation, please contact a Care Manager at 908-450-9400.