The growth of ACOs and APMs in 2017

The growth of ACOs and APMs in 2017

Quality care is the focus of accountable care organizations (ACOs), groups of physicians who voluntarily join together to more effectively coordinate care for their Medicare patients. Quality care is also the focus of alternative payment models (APMs), including ACOs, that provide incentive payments for high quality and cost-efficient care. The Accountable Care Learning Collaborative (ACLC), partnering with Leavitt Partners, has been tracking the growth of ACOs and APMs and has found a significant increase recently.

ACLC counts an increase of 2.2 million lives covered by an ACO in the past year, for a current total of “923 active public and private ACOs across the United States, covering more than 32 million lives.” There have been some ACOs that have dropped their contracts in the past year, but there has been a net increase of 92 additional ACOs.

According to ACLC’s numbers, “since the first quarter of 2016, 138 new ACOs began operation, and 46 ACOs dropped their accountable care contracts.” The organization adds that during the same timeframe, “the number of contracts has grown by 166, as many ACOs have expanded the number of accountable care contracts in which they participate.”

ACLC reports that “other APMs with accountability for person- or episode-level outcomes and costs are also expanding.” The growth in APMs undoubtedly has been impacted by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), which provides incentives for physicians to become part of an APM.

APMs, including APOs, focus on improving the quality of patient care through financial incentives. Elation Health is also focused on helping independent physicians provide the highest quality patient care. Our electronic health record (EHR) system gives primary care providers the tools they need to collaborate with other providers, communicate with patients, and spend more time with their patients. We bridge the gap between the worlds of policy and payers, so providers can focus on what they do best, for the benefit of their patients and their practices.