Medical associations release joint ACO principles
The American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians and the American Osteopathic Association became the latest medical associations to release principles for emerging networks known as accountable care organizations. The groups released a jointly endorsed list of structural and payment principles for development of ACOs. Medicare will begin to pay providers in 2012 under the accountable care model, which is broadly defined as provider networks that are eligible for bonus payments tied to quality and cost-control targets. Providers and commercial insurers also have announced efforts to create ACOs outside of Medicare. The principles released by the four physician groups called for “significant and equitable” representation of primary care and specialists in ACO leadership. ACO organization, administration and clinical and legal processes, including payment and risk adjustment, should be public, the groups said. The groups endorsed the use of multiple payment models, including partial capitation, but said doctors and other professionals who do not clearly agree to “insurance risk” should be protected from such a risk.