Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) have long held the promise of better integrated and more efficient healthcare. In concept, it should reduce duplication—and by extension—the cost of managing an episode of care. However, David Pearce, a partner in the Healthcare Practice of Arnall Golden Gregory LLP, headquartered in Atlanta, GA, says a downside is that by aligning vertically with select providers it reduces patient choice.
“By selecting an ACO or by having one selected for you through your health plan, the providers have already been chosen for you,” he says. “Of course, that is already happening to some degree in most existing managed care structures.”
So is the future bright for ACOs or is it doomed to become a failure?