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Study highlights benefits of Accountable Care Organizations

Posted on September 13, 2012 | No Comments

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Health care delivery systems that reward providers for coordinating and improving care hold promise for slowing the rise of health care costs for the most vulnerable patients, according to a new study by Dartmouth researchers published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). To learn how such models, such as accountable care organizations (ACOs), are likely to perform for patients with severe health conditions, researchers from the Dartmouth Atlas Project and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice studied the Medicare’s Physician Group Practice Demonstration (PGPD). The study focused on the care provided to patients covered by both Medicare and Medicaid, also known as “dual eligible” patients. The nation’s 9 million dual eligibles comprise 20 percent of the Medicare population but account for 31 percent of its spending, and comprise 15 percent of the Medicaid population but 39 percent of its spending. The study highlights the potential benefits of the ACO model for dual eligible patients. Dartmouth’s analysis of Medicare spending for PGPD patients found that the participating health systems achieved their savings largely by reducing hospital stays. An accompanying analysis of quality indicators also showed that quality of care did not decline.

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