The American Hospital Association is guiding its members to focus more on accountable care and less on the structure of accountable care organizations, given the uncertainty still surrounding this care model.
AHA stresses accountable care over ACO structure
That was the message from AHA President and CEO Richard Umbdenstock in a panel discussion at the National Business Coalition on Health's 15th annual conference in Washington. Other panelists included Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, and physician Douglas Henley, executive vice president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
“If you look at it narrowly under Medicare, nobody yet knows how many of these ACOs Medicare will put into this program to start with,” Umbdenstock said. “It is voluntary—a lot of people don't focus on that. We don't know how many they will oversee or work with at any point in time,” he added.
“We're expecting that to be more limited than numerous, in terms of scope of this. So we're focused more on encouraging our members to think about accountable care and less on the organization part because we still don't know what it is,” he said, adding that it's important to build on the integrated-care models that already exist in the private sector.
The panelists also addressed payment reform and the problems surrounding fee-for-service, state health insurance exchanges and value-based insurance design. The discussion was preceded by a session that featured Carolyn Clancy, director of HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, who talked about patient-centered care and how NBCH could use AHRQ's research and materials to educate their member organizations. (Please see our recent Video News Short with Umbdenstock here.)
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