California Health Care Providers Equipped To Form ACOs, Experts Say
Experts say that California health care providers are well-equipped to adjust to CMS' newly proposed rules governing the creation of accountable care organizations, the San Francisco Business Times reports (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 4/8).
The federal health reform law mandates the creation of ACOs, which aim to lower costs and improve care by fostering cooperation between physicians, hospitals and other health care providers.
The overhaul requires federal health programs to begin contracting with ACOs starting in January 2012 (California Healthline, 4/1).
ACOs would cover as many as five million Medicare beneficiaries in total. To qualify as an ACO, a group of care providers would need to cover at least 5,000 enrollees.
Federal officials predict that ACOs could help reduce spending between $170 million and $960 million over three years. CMS would let ACOs keep up to 60% of the savings (Payers & Providers, 4/8).
California Health Systems Poised for ACO Creation
Experts say California is well-positioned to create ACOs because large local health systems -- such as Catholic Healthcare West, Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health -- already have significant experience with electronic health records, integrated care and managed care.
Blue Shield of California already has teamed up with CHW and Hill Physicians to launch an ACO pilot project in the Sacramento region for CalPERS members with Blue Shield HMOs (San Francisco Business Times, 4/8).
Donald Crane, CEO of the California Association of Physician Groups, said many California medical groups are ready to create ACOs. He said, "They have everything they need: the disease registries, the data warehouse, and they have the experience" (Payers & Providers, 4/8).
Federal officials are accepting public comment on the proposed ACO regulations through June 6 (San Francisco Business Times, 4/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.