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High physician turnover rates prevail in large ACO: 5 things to know

A study published in Health Affairs found a high physician turnover rate in a large Medicare Pioneer ACO, which may impact the payment model's overall effectiveness in lowering costs and improving patient care.

Investigators analyzed Massachusetts-based Partners HealthCare, one of the largest Pioneer ACOs in the country. The ACO included more than 82,000 beneficiaries in its 2012 to 2014 contract. There were 422 affiliated physicians in 2012, 625 in 2013 and 614 in 2014.

Here are five things to know:

1. There was an average of 70 beneficiaries per physician. Forty-one percent of physicians joined and 18 percent left the ACO during the 2012-to-2014 contract period.

2. Fifty-two percent of the physicians remained affiliated with the ACO throughout the contract years.

3. When physicians exited the ACO, the majority of their beneficiaries followed suit.

4. Nearly 50 percent of the beneficiary population growth was due to new physicians joining the ACO.

5. The researchers note the industry should focus on the ACOs' care delivery as beneficiaries comprised a limited portion of physicians' patient volume.

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