October 6, 2016

Accountable care organizations (ACOs) that hold commercial contracts may be “leaner” and more efficient than their noncommercial counterparts, a new study in Health Affairs finds.

Research led by former Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow David Peiris, M.D., shows that commercial ACOs had lower expenses per Medicare enrollee and slightly higher overall quality-of-care scores. Differences in organizational structure, provider compensation, quality improvement activities, and management systems all likely play a role, the authors say.

Larger, more mature commercial ACOs tend to have more processes in place to improve efficiency than their noncommercial counterparts do. Still, the researchers note that few ACOs of any type have rigorous quality monitoring processes or substantial financial incentives tied to quality.

Read more at CommonwealthFund.org

ACO News is a feature of the Medicaid Accountable Care Organization Resource Center, an online collection of tools designed to help Medicaid agencies develop and launch accountable care organizations.