Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and Palliative Care

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Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are groups of local health care providers and hospitals who volunteer to work together to provide patients with coordinated care. They aim to minimize costs for patients, especially those facing serious illnesses, by offering them efficient and timely care and avoiding unnecessary duplication of services in the process. In addition, ACOs create an incentive to be more efficient by offering bonuses to providers who keep costs down.

Making the Case

The Toward Accountable Care (TAC) Consortium has released a toolkit: Accountable Care Guide For Hospice & Palliative Carewhich illustrates the opportunities for palliative care providers in accountable care, assists palliative care providers in avoiding pitfalls and recommends accountable care strategies for palliative care providers in different settings.

“Palliative care providers have skills and experience that position them to contribute significantly in the success of ACOs, but this is not yet widely recognized within the medical community, to make sure a fair and sustainable ACO model becomes reality, it is important for palliative care providers to step up with like-minded physicians to lead in this potentially career-changing transformation.” the toolkit explains. Download the toolkit here.

To read a compelling and well-researched article underlining how palliative care fits the ACO model well, click here. The article, which appeared in Health Affairs - the leading journal of health policy thought and research - was written by Susan Block, Vicki Jackson and Thomas Lee.

Additional Resources

Development and Preliminary Evaluation of an Innovative Advanced Chronic Disease Care Model by Daniel R. Hoefer, MD, Suzi K. Johnson, MPH, RN, and Miriam Bender, PhD, RN