One of the best value-based health care options that provide wholesome treatment with flexible payment options is an Accountable Care Organization. The ACO or Accountable Care Organization comprises medical experts and practitioners, including doctors and nurses, and even hospitals and nursing homes where these experienced health care providers are always present, and whose only motto is to ensure the best possible patient care.
Should You Choose One?
The primary objective of ACOs is to provide patients with Medicare quality care and treatment. As a result of knowledgeable people from multiple disciplines coming under one roof and dispensing expert services, you can always expect holistic care at accountable care organizations. On top of everything, the ACOs aim to keep patients away from expensive treatments and tests. Instead, they replace it with low-cost alternatives. For those undergoing chronic illnesses like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes, it is best to opt for a treatment in ACOs.
How Do Accountable Care Organizations Function?
Regardless of where you’ve got your treatment from, be it hospitals, nursing homes, diagnostic centers, physicians’ offices, and even at long-term care and treatment facilities, ACOs are always a better option. The focus is on ‘better care’ particularly in cases where patients suffer from acute cardiovascular conditions or diabetes.
The ACOs ensure that whoever takes care of you must be in complete harmony with all others present on the team. There must be proper communication channels established among your primary physicians, doctors, and other specialists, long-term care providers, and hospitals. There are local services like ‘Meals on Wheels’ that work in tandem with the care provided. Usually, medical experts gain from ACOs. When your health shows signs of improvement, the cost of care goes down, which spells more savings for Medicare. The healthcare service providers working for the ACO get a share of this money saved.
Choosing ACO – What Are Your Benefits?
Better Quality of Care at Lower Cost – ACO doctors make patient care easy when you share your medical history with the network. Your ACO medical experts would strive to provide personalized care. They do this in line with your medical history and needs. Besides, they try to get you out of the hospital as soon as possible. It thus reduces the out-of-pocket costs.
Coordinated Care – By paying two different experts for diabetes and heart issues separately, you might end up paying more. The doctors cannot see who is recommending what, and thus cannot know if its in sync with your health condition or not. So why waste money over the same tests? Thanks to ACOs, chances of such incidents are considerably low now. There’s a possibility of getting a ‘care coordinator’ like a nurse or a social worker who will check in to every little thing.
More Accountability – True to its name, ACOs can hold your doctors accountable. The onus lies on ACOs to let your doctor be accountable for your overall health. The payment increases when they can show Medicare that you’re recovering. It’s just that the ACO must be able to showcase the evidence that the team is taking good care of you, including receiving preventive services like colonoscopy and such. The judgment on your ACO depends on 33 quality measures.
How to Become an ACO Patient?
Unlike health insurance, you don’t have to enroll yourself in an ACO. Your doctor has to assess your condition and follow the Medicare guidelines to assign you to an ACO. So, if the doctor under whose supervision you are has an ACO affiliation, it is likely that you will be under his team.
Besides, you don’t even have to change doctors. Given you’re already a Medicare patient, you can choose any health provider who accepts Medicare. It thus implies that you do not have an obligation to consult only those doctors who are present in the ACO.
The advantage of choosing ACO is that your doctors will know all about your medical history. They will get a glimpse of your existing and underlying conditions and your existing medications. So, if you choose not to go forward with the idea or disclose personal information with the ACO, you’re free to do that. However, if you are fine with sharing your medical history with a network, you can choose ACO.