An ACO is a set up of hospitals and doctors that have the responsibility of providing harmonized care to patients in order to minimize the unnecessary spending. At the center of each patients care is primary care physician. In Obamacare each ACO is required to manage the healthcare needs of at least 5000 Medicare recipients for a minimum of 3 years.
According to Harold Miller president and CEO of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement and executive director at Center for Healthcare Quality & Payment Reform. He says think of ACOs in term of the TV. A TV manufacturer will make contracts with many suppliers to build TV sets. In the same way an ACO would bring or join together the different components needed for the patient care like specialists, hospitals, primary care, home health care etc and make sure that all these parts work together.
The problem with most of the healthcare today is that miller says that different parts of healthcare are being provided to the customers separately; Miller further said that if we show the patients that TV works better maybe the customers will buy it. He stresses that ACOs need to make sure that the overall health care products that they create works better as a whole and encourage the patients to buy it.