High Physician Turnover May Partly Explain ACOs’ Limited Success

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<p>Accountable care organizations (ACOs) have proliferated in recent years as health and hospital systems seek to move from fee-for-service reimbursement to a system that incentivizes the delivery of effective and efficient care. But the evidence so far shows ACOs have had only limited success in achieving their financial targets.</p><p>Part of the reason may lie with the physicians contracting with these organizations. In their study of Partners HealthCare, one of the nation’s largest Medicare ACOs, researcher John Hsu, M.D., and colleagues found substantial turnover in participation, with barely more than half of doctors affiliated with the ACO over a three-year period. And when they left the ACO, most of their patients followed closely behind. </p>
<p>The <em>Health Affairs</em> study, supported in part by The Commonwealth Fund, suggests that ACOs’ financial incentives may not be sufficient to attract and retain a critical mass of physicians and patients.</p>

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