The ACO primary goals are to meet standards of quality practice and putting patients first. Each patient will have the right care at the right time. Studies show that quality care costs less because coordinated care helps avoid unnecessary duplication of services and prevention of medical errors.

Medicare took action and passed the ACO Act on March 31, 2011.

An ACO refers to a group of providers and suppliers of services (e.g., hospitals, physicians, and others involved in patient care) that will work together to coordinate care for the patients they serve in Original Medicare.

The goal of an ACO is to deliver seamless, high-quality care for Medicare beneficiaries, instead of the fragmented care that often results from different providers receiving different, disconnected payments. The ACO would be a patient-centered organization where the patient and providers are partners in care decisions. Kaiser Permanente is considered an ACO.

With healthcare providers becoming acclimated and operating under the ACO, we should see overflow into our area of practice by having improved quality of care which is done correctly the first time, increased satisfaction by claimants with providers, and resulting decreasing care costs for our workers compensation files.

Author: Deborah Goza, MS, RN, COHNS, CCM
Editor: Lisa Perry