The last decade has seen the towering success and maturity of accountable care organizations (ACOs), thanks to their exclusive focus on achieving high-quality care at a comparatively low cost. To be eligible to participate in an ACO, participating physicians must care for a minimum of 5,000 Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries. This of course is a limiting factor to independent practitioners, as they would not typically meet the minimum required Medicare patients. To combat this, ACOs have grown networks of independent physicians, alliances of care providers, and independent hospitals, which are typically all equipped with unique specialties, abilities, and capacity to handle their patient population.
Innovative approaches to healthcare payments and healthcare delivery are on the rise, with stakeholders shifting focus from volume to low cost / high value care. Over the past ten years, several value-based healthcare models have emerged. Most of these models are attributed to the Affordable Care Act (ACA),the mother of all innovative efforts to bring “quality, affordable healthcare to all Americans.” Thanks to the ACA, accountable care organizations (ACOs) are the most popular and most successful strategies to date.