Health Aff (Millwood). 2011 Jul;30(7):1250-5.
The accountable care organization: whatever its growing pains, the concept is too vitally important to fail.
The success of health reform efforts will depend, in part, on creating new and better ways to organize, deliver, and pay for health care. Increasingly central to this idea is the accountable care organization model proposed for Medicare and a slightly different model for commercial health care. But these new health care delivery and payment models face considerable skepticism. Can Medicare succeed with accountable care organizations if physicians can't determine whether patients are in the organization or not? Will commercial hospitals use their clout to create accountable care organizations, leaving physician practices in a weaker position? This article answers those and other criticisms of the developing accountable care organization movement. If the concept fails, the nation may face indiscriminate cuts to health care payments, with resulting reductions in access, service, and quality.