New Federal Mandate Will Make ACO-Based Provider Networks Responsible for Improving Quality and Cutting Costs
Pathologists and clinical laboratories are positioned to benefit from the provision in the Affordable Care Act of 2010 that is intended to reduce the cost of healthcare. It is the provision which authorizes the use of “accountable care organizations” (ACOs) and will be triggered in 2012.
Accountable care organizations are not yet a well-defined concept. ACOs are recognized to have some basic characteristics. First, an ACO is an integrated care network of providers with the ability to provide care to, and manage patients, across the continuum of care that should include different institutional settings, such as ambulatory care, inpatient hospital care, and even post-acute care.