ACOs, already surging, poised for even more growth

Ama-assn.org: 12/10/12

The number of accountable care organizations has increased significantly in recent years and is expected to grow even more quickly in the immediate future, with physician practices under increasing demand to lead or participate in them.

“There’s going to be a big growth spurt in 2013,” said Richard Weil, PhD, a partner with Oliver Wyman, a New York-based company that consults with health care institutions looking to set up ACOs. “The folks who were hoping that the ACO would go away are not going to get what they want.”

Some 25 million to 31 million patients are affected by this model in some way, according to a report issued Nov. 26 by Oliver Wyman. A total of 2.4 million Medicare patients receive care through ACOs recognized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Fifteen million non-Medicare patients get services from practices with CMS ACO status, and 8 million to 14 million patients are in ACOs run by commercial insurers. Leavitt Partners, a consultancy working in this area, counted 328 ACOs as of Nov. 1. This is a significant increase from 221 noted at the end of May, and 164 counted in September 2011.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm about the movement, and there’s significant activity going on,” said Andrew Croshaw, a partner and managing director of Leavitt’s health care practice. Read More