With the current transition facing the healthcare industry based on the influence of the affordable care act, the need for plans and systems to reduce costs and improve the quality of care are higher than ever before.
In an effort to achieve the results that will improve medical access in the United States, accountable care organizations (ACOs) are being encouraged and established. In fact, approximately 14% of the nation’s population is being served by an ACO today.
The goal of an ACO is to provide cost control and quality improvement through a well-conceived and implemented network. This network of medical professionals and providers is a coordinated and collaborative effort that is rewarded for the positive patient outcomes it provides, not the sheer volume of patients it services.
The key reason that affordable care organizations are so successful is based on the way they are compensated. The traditional fee-for-service system where each test and procedure generates a payment was inefficient and dramatically inflated costs. Providers were doing more than was necessary, resulting in a more expensive, less effective method of care. Today, ACOs receive payment based on providing the best care possible for their patients. They are incentivized to keep costs down while maintaining quality benchmarks by focusing on preventative care. The Congressional Budget Office forecasts that the Shared Savings Program will save the federal government over $5 billion through 2019.
Physician-led, primary-care centered, patient-focused systems of care are becoming more widespread. As these organizations continue to grow to meet the increased access of the American healthcare system, qualified professionals will be needed to satisfy the demand. ACOs show no sign of slowing down. Over 54% of healthcare opinion leaders believe that ACOs are an effective model for population-based accountable care, according to the Commonwealth Fund.
There are a variety of established provider organizations that lend themselves to a simple evolution into an ACO. Many multi-specialty groups, PHOs (physician-hospital organizations) and IDSs (integrated delivery systems) either currently function as an ACO or have the management and pay structure in place to quickly transition into one. Independent practice associations (IPAs) are also likely candidates to become ACOs; however, time and infrastructure may be needed.
As ACOs encompass more of the healthcare landscape to create lower costs coupled with improved care, the need for skilled physicians and advanced practitioners will grow dramatically. Navigating the changes and transitions that are a result of the Affordable Care Act is no easy task. The same can be said for locating a position in a market, practice, group and concentration that is ideal for you. Leveraging the resources of a healthcare recruiter can streamline your job seeking efforts. For more information on how MedSource Consultants can help you find the right practice opportunity and provide care in this new environment, click here.