The Council of Accountable Physician Practices and the American Medical Group Association 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 the current volume-based health care system is reformed into one that is more coordinated and organized, and 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 promoting the benefits of medical homes and of accountable care organizations (ACO) in the Affordable Care Act health reform law.
Accountable care organizations (ACOs) are a set of healthcare providers--including primary care physicians, specialists, and hospitals — that work together collaboratively and accept collective accountability for the cost and quality of care delivered to a population of patients. This model, if implemented successfully, can 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. The organization has supported the formation of ACOs and other accountable delivery system models through its educational programs. For more information, visit AMGA's Accountable Care Resource Center.