The Health and Human Services Department has made significant concessions on its controversial rules governing accountable care organizations – the new hospital structures meant to help improve the U.S. health care system.
They make changes to coax doctors and hospitals to come on board, including allowing some of the new ACOs to operate without financial risk and also eliminating a confusing and unpopular provision that would have kept patients and doctors in the dark about who was actually included in an ACO. They also slashed the number of quality measures doctors and hospitals will have to report on from 65 to 33.
The ACOs are one of the health care law’s greatest cost-saving hopes. They are one of the most visible efforts from the federal government to move Medicare away from “fee-for-service” reimbursement, in which doctors and hospitals are paid for every procedure and test they do, even if it does not improve a patient’s health.
They aim to get doctors and hospitals to work together to keep patients healthier, measuring standards with government-set quality metrics.