Hospitals and health systems are navigating enormous changes to better serve their communities. They are adopting, testing and embracing alternative payment and delivery models that allow them to improve care and lower costs by better coordinating services through clinical teamwork. To advance our ongoing efforts to transform the delivery system, many hospitals have established accountable care organizations (ACO). According to AHA data, in 2017, 42 percent of responding hospitals had established an ACO and the number of hospitals participating in an ACO has more than doubled since 2013.
They are transforming care while caring for sicker and more complex patients in outpatient departments. A study released last year found that Medicare patients who receive care in a hospital outpatient department are more likely to be poorer and have more severe chronic conditions than Medicare patients treated in an independent physician office.
All this takes place in an environment where hospitals are subject to more comprehensive licensing, accreditation and regulatory requirements than other settings. They deliver care 24/7, serve as a safety-net provider for vulnerable populations and are a source of care and safety in times of disaster.