For our second installment of vacation-time review posts, we will be exploring the complex and important world of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), a proposed way to reorganize health systems that will theoretically hold down health care costs while improving patient care. Chris Langston has explored this rich topic in several posts, the most comprehensive of which is “When it Rains, it Pours.” Here Chris calls for more focus on geriatrics and elderly populations in ACOs, explains the ACO concept, and links to several helpful articles and web pages on the topic.
Earlier posts that explore the topic of ACOs also include:
- Long-Term Care Residents Use Medicare, Too—And Lots of It, in which Chris calls for the inclusion of long-term care residents in ACOs.
- Modern Healthcare Translates Transitions. Not only does this post have the benefit of linking to a video that pokes fun at hospital executives that don’t understand ACOs, it also links to a seminal Health Affairs paper on ACOs.
- Making the Accountable Care Organization Actually Work. Here, Chris calls for ACOs to take the “complex needs of the chronically ill older adult population” into account.
Finally, in the post “Fine Old Wine in New Bottles,” Chris suggests that ACOs include the nine objectives for integrated care, called the “Self Assessment for System Integration,” developed by the Foundation-supported but now defunct National Chronic Care Consortium. The objectives do an excellent job of “defining the key components needed to integrate systems to provide better care for people with chronic conditions.”
Of course, Health AGEnda should only be the starting point in a quest to learn more about accountable care organizations. Other excellent ACO blog resources include these two articles:
- "ACO Fairy Tale Faces a Rumpelstiltskin Moment”
- “Can Academic Medical Centers Become Accountable Care Organizations?”
In addition, the archives of the Disease Management Care blog, the E-CareManagement blog, and the Health Affairs blog include numerous and thoughtful discussions of accountable care organizations and their permutations. Check their categories or tag clouds for “accountable care organizations” or “ACO,” or just search their archives.
After all that reading, do you still have questions about ACOs and how they might help improve health care for older adults? Post them here and we’ll try to help you track down some answers.