WEDNESDAY MARCH 30, 2011
The healthcare community has been waiting with bated breath for a set of regulations telling us exactly what an “accountable care organization” (ACO) is. The ACO is a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a., national healthcare reform. The ACO is supposed to link a variety of providers, from hospitals to physicians to post-acute providers, in a coordinated model that emphasizes appropriate care in the right setting, better disease management, incentives for improved quality and efficiency and robust health information technology. Simple, right?
We’ll know much more about this undefined beast when the feds release their regulations. The regulations have been held up in a rumored battle royale between the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission over which agency will oversee antitrust issues related to ACOs. The hot rumor du jour is that they will be released this week.
NJHA held a daylong conference on ACOs yesterday which was attended by more than 100 healthcare professionals. I sat through the afternoon session, which was excellent, but speaker after speaker noted that we all really need to see the regulations before we can develop a clear action plan. NJHA hopes to hold a learning session via a Webinar within a week or two of the regulations publication. Stay tuned!