Accountable care organizations (ACOs) are groups of clinicians, hospitals and other health care providers who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high-quality care a designated group of patients. Coordinated care seeks to ensure that patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time in the right setting, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors. Under Medicare, when an ACO succeeds both in delivering high-quality care and spending health care dollars more wisely, it will share in the savings it achieves for the Medicare program.
Hospital-affiliated accountable care organizations participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program achieved $174 million in net savings to Medicare in 2017. Among other achievements, the 297 hospital-affiliated ACOs in the program spent about $690 million less than their 2017 benchmarks and achieved a quality score of 92.3 percent. Depending on their size, hospitals and health systems invest between $5 million and $12 million to start participating in an ACO and between $6.3 million and $14.1 million to continue in the ACO each year, the graphic notes.
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