AMGA believes that our current system of health care delivery does not adequately hold providers accountable for the care they provide, nor for providing the full spectrum of care. Creating accountability is impossible until we transform the current volume-based system into one that pays providers based on outcomes (quality) and value (efficiency). Once a link has been made between compensation and results, provider accountability will grow. To promote accountability, and build on existing medical practice patterns, Congress has taken an important step in the creation of Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) in health reform law.
Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are one of the key efforts of the recent healthcare reform legislation that address the two greatest challenges facing US health care: unsustainable escalation of costs that threaten the affordability of care and care that is fragmented, poorly coordinated with little accountability for the outcomes of care. It is widely believed that the current volume-based payment system is part of the problem and needs to be restructured to support paying for value rather than paying for delivering services and procedures. The ACO concept couples payment and delivery systems reforms that may have the opportunity to bend the cost curve while improving access and quality.
AMGA has been a longtime leader in reform efforts that foster the creation of community-based entities accountable for comprehensive healthcare services, referred to as ACOs, that promote accountability and build on the practice patterns of high-performing organizations. It provided guidance to congressional leaders on the appropriate language regarding ACOs and lobbied aggressively for its inclusion.