ACOs become settled in the health care landscape

Connected coverage — selected articles on trends, challenges and controversies in the changing world of medicine.

Posted Dec. 31, 2012.

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In a short amount of time, accountable care organizations have grown from a curiosity to a fact of life for many physicians. More public and private ACOs are forming, with an increasing number of doctors joining them in their goal of managing patient populations to improve health and save money — with a possible bonus for the organization to pass around if it succeeds in those goals.

American Medical News has covered the growth of ACOs. Articles have studied not only the trend of ACO startups, but also the practical considerations physicians should think about when deciding whether to join one, or which to join.

ACOs, already surging, poised for even more growth

A survey put the number of ACOs as of Nov. 1 at 328, up from another survey's count of 221 in May. One organization says that up to 31 million patients are getting care from ACO practices. With more Medicare ACOs to come in 2013, analysts expect the number of private organizations to grow as well.

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What doctors should ask insurers before joining ACOs or medical homes

Private insurers are forming ACOs, and consultants advise doctors to start analyzing each ACO individually with this question: “What's in it for my patients, and what's in it for me?”

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Four steps to a successful ACO

Physicians, hospitals, insurers — about anybody in the health system can lead an ACO. But can they lead it well? Is it worthwhile to lead one? One report looks at some issues that should be considered before launching an ACO.

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