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Physicians divided on Medicare ACOs' effectiveness in driving cost savings, quality care: 6 highlights

A Health Affairs survey of physicians participating in Medicare ACOs claims only 50 percent found the models effective in lowering costs and providing high quality care.

Health Affairs surveyed 1,401 physicians who participated in either:
o    Medicare Shared Savings Program
o    Advance Payment ACOs
o    Pioneer ACOs

Here are six highlights:

1. More than 66 percent strongly agreed their quality care payments were compatible with their personal practice style, as opposed to fee-for-service payment models.

2. Health Affairs noted a low awareness among the physician respondents regarding their eligibility for shared savings and if they faced financial risk from participating in a Medicare ACO.

3. For physicians participating in the Advance Payment ACOs, 65 percent said they were directly involved in deciding to participate in the program, compared to 30 percent of those in Medicare Shared Savings Program ACOs and 19 percent of those in Pioneer ACOs.

4. Across the three models, nearly half said their primary reason for participation was an interest in reducing the cost of care while improving high quality care.

5. Physicians in Advance Payment Model ACOs generally had more favorable views on the model and their positive impact on patient care, compared to the other two models.

6. Health Affairs noted, "The results of our survey suggest that many participating physicians’ views are not aligned with ACO goals and that the physicians are divided as to whether or not the ACO model is effective."

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