Some people used to say that accountable care organizations (ACOs) are like unicorns — they sound amazing but nobody has seen one in real life. However, with hundreds of ACOs now sprouting up in an array of shapes and sizes in Medicare, Medicaid, and the commercial sector, this saying has finally been put to rest. Still, until recently, it’s been unclear whether ACOs can live up to the hype or are just a passing health care reform fad. Although the results are preliminary, the experiences of Medicaid ACO programs in Colorado, Minnesota, and Oregon show that this model of coordinating care — and then sharing in the resulting savings with payers — holds real promise.
In this Commonwealth Fund blog post, CHCS’ Tricia McGinnis highlights the early experiences of ACOs in Colorado, Minnesota, and Oregon to show that the model is beginning to save money and improve quality through better care coordination.