For Dr. Pablo Quintela, the decision to join an accountable care organization was an easy one.
Orange Care Group, formed in 2014 under the Medicare Shared Savings Program, provides Quintela with support services to manage his small practice in Hollywood, Fla., through one of its four ACOs. It helps him correctly bill claims to the CMS, coordinate care for his Medicare population and prepare for the quality requirements of MACRA through educational sessions and tools.
But perhaps the best part of the arrangement is that Quintela gets to keep his status as an independent-practice provider. "As a physician, when we partner with hospitals, they are always trying to lead the charge—they dictate what we are doing and what we cannot do," Quintela said. "It's better not to be burdened by the hospitals. We are trying to do what is best for the patient—not trying to worry about what is best for the hospital."
As the healthcare landscape grows more complex in the push to value-based care, independent-practice providers like Quintela are increasingly looking to ACOs as a way to successfully adapt to payment reform while also keeping their autonomy.
"It is really hard to stay independent in a world moving to risk," said Chris Dawe, vice president of Evolent Health, a technology firm that helps providers adopt value-based payment models. "Becoming part of a network of colleagues where you have the scale necessary to efficiently manage a population at risk and to share the expenses … it's an appealing pathway."