Lower Health Spending Associated with Enrollment in Medicare ACOs, Particularly for Sickest Patients

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Enrollment in a Medicare accountable care organization (ACO) is linked to reductions in health spending as well as fewer emergency department visits and hospitalizations, a new study finds.

Writing in JAMA Internal Medicine, Commonwealth Fund–supported researchers led by Carrie H. Colla with the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice found that the spending reductions were greatest for “clinically vulnerable” enrollees — those with multiple acute or chronic medical conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Following ACO implementation, total health spending decreased by $136 (1.3%) annually per beneficiary, but by $456 (2%) for beneficiaries with multiple conditions.

Currently there are more than 800 ACO contracts in place, covering 28 million Americans.

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/newsletters/ealerts/2016/jun/lower-health-spending-associated-with-enrollment-in-medicare-acos-particularly-for-sickest-patients Read about the study