Tuesday, July 5, 2011

ACOs: Some Thoughts for Hospice Providers

There has been quite a buzz about Accountable Care Organizations since they were included in healthcare reform legislation. ACOs are a new and innovative model for care delivery that is being applied for the first time to Medicare.

NHPCO members will find that the cover article of July’s NewsLine (visit www.nhpco.org/newsline) will help you understand a bit more about ACOs. We are honored to have Julie Lewis—one of the nation’s leading experts on the subject—share some insight with us. In April,

In addition to this NewsLine article which includes some suggested resources, I want to offer a couple of thoughts:

  • Hospice and palliative care providers have an attractive range of services that ACOs would want to have available to their participants.
  • Working with an ACO affords hospice and palliative care providers an excellent platform to help broaden their reach within their service area.
  • Due to the many restrictions and the complexity of the proposed regulations, it is unlikely that many hospice providers will be able to serve as an organizing partner of an ACO; however, the opportunity to contract with an ACO in their service area is well worth exploring.

One frequent question I’ve gotten from members is whether participating in an ACO will change reimbursement. Unlike bundled payment models, the ACO model envisions continued use of the current Medicare reimbursement structure.

I am interested in your thoughts about ACOs and what activity you might see in your area, so please feel free to share any developments with us at NHPCO.


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