Expert Says Accountable Care Organizations Must Embrace Patient Choice to be Successful

ACOs will change how clinical laboratories and pathology groups provide medical lab tests

Clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups will need to gear up to support accountable care organizations (ACO) in advance of Medicare’s “Shared Savings Program” launch in January 2012. But decades after the first ACOs opened their doors, some experts debate whether they’ve succeeded in their mission, which begs the question, are they a good idea at all?

According to the Integrated Healthcare Association (IHA) who funded the report “Accountable Care Organizations in California—Lessons for the National Debate on Delivery System Reform,” ACOs are intended to “promote higher quality and more efficient healthcare delivery in the United states.” But according to the report’s author, James Robinson, director of the Center for Health Technology at the University of California at Berkeley, current ACO structures might need to be redesigned if ACOs are to be ultimately successful.