- The non-profit National Business Group on Health (NBGH) released what it describes as two resources for employers to assess and better understand accountable care organizations (ACOs).
- One resource is the ACO Journey Map, which is written to help employers assess ACOs capabilities. The second resource is the ACO Scoring Guide, which provides instructions and definitions of ACO capabilities, or competencies, says the NBGH.
- "ACOs have the potential to deliver lower-cost, higher-quality and more consumer-focused health care," Brian Marcotte, NBGH's president and CEO, said in a statement. "Employers have many questions about how ACOs deliver value better than the network models they offer today. That’s one of the main reasons we developed these resources.”
ACOs have been in healthcare literature for some time as a component of the Affordable Care Act. The model consists of a provider network that focuses on delivering higher quality care to patients, rather than operating on a fee-for-service basis.
These arrangements are part of a much larger trend within employer-sponsored care toward plan structures that focus on treatment outcomes. The thought is that plan design alone can't solve the problems of healthcare consumerism. With the majority of patients saying they've made a healthcare decision they regret, it's understandable that employers might take interest in systems that promote value-based care.
Analysts predict more organizations will make such a shift over the next few years. At the federal level, the Department of Health and Human Services is reportedly pushing for healthcare plans that tie 50% of provider income to treatment outcomes.
Aside from healthcare benefits, employers should continue to emphasize preventative care measures to help lower medical costs and improve quality of life for their workers. Providing access to a wide variety of resources — from mental healthcare to exercise incentives — is the most effective approach.