Accountable Care Organizations

The Medicare Shared Savings Program, the only ACO program enacted through the Affordable Care Act, encourages health care providers to coordinate a Medicare fee-for-service beneficiary’s care in a way that avoids duplication of services, prevents medical errors, and averts hospitalization, thereby slowing the rate of growth in health care spending and improving quality of care. It evokes the triple aim—to improve the health of the population, enhance the patient experience of care, and reduce the per capita cost of care. And in return for demonstrating reduced costs and increased quality, the organization is eligible to receive a share in the savings it produces. As private payers seek different ways to pay for care, they are also showing support for the ACO model.