What Type of ACO Are You?

There are several delivery systems that can evolve into accountable care organizations (ACO). If your practice is looking to take advantage of this new health delivery, cost saving, and revenue model, you ought to know what they are.

Before establishing or joining an ACO, evaluate your practice, its structure, and its affiliations. Look to similar models and study their experiences. One of these examples, compiled by Health Policy Brief, may fit your practice perfectly.

Certified Professional Coder-Payer CPC-P


  • Integrated delivery systems own hospitals, physician practices, and insurance plans. Highly organized, they boast sophisticated electronic health records, team-based care, and aligned financial incentives. Examples are Geisinger Health System, Pennsylvania; Group Health Cooperative, Seattle; and Kaiser Permanente, California.
  • Multispecialty group practices enjoy a history of physician leadership and contract with a number of payers. Many, like Minnesota’s Mayo and Ohio’s Cleveland clinics, already have a history of physician leadership and coordinated clinical care.
  • Physician-hospital organizations function a lot like the multi-specialty group practices, but may have nonemployee medical staff and remodel care delivery for cost effectiveness. Examples include Middlesex Hospital, Connecticut, and Advocate Health, Chicago.
  • Independent practice associations actively redesign their practices and focus on quality improvement. They are made up of independent physician practices jointly contracting with payers. Massachusetts’ Atrius Health and California’s Monarch HealthCare two of the most successful in this care style.
  • Virtual physician organizations are made up of small physician practices, often in rural areas. They may be led by physicians or state Medicaid agencies in a structure providing leadership, infrastructure, and resources to small practices coordinate care. ACOs develop within this model include those in Grand Junction, Colo.; Community Care of North Carolina; and North Dakota’s Cooperative Network.



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