Disraeli commented that there are lies, damned lies and statistics. It’s time to add acronyms to the list.
A new acronym to save healthcare has arrived, the ACO, an “accountable care organization.”
But accountability to whom? And for what care, exactly? Lastly, and most importantly, who runs the organization?
An ACO, is about power and control over physician services rendered and, importantly, power and control over physicians’ incomes. ACOs are the intended funnel of payor funds – they serve as a mechanism to distribute those funds and, as such, invoke the Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.
Hospitals and their associations are scrambling to build ACO networks. Don’t for a minute think they have your interest at heart.
The opportunity exists to seek physician control of ACOs: There is no rule that requires that control run one way, from the hospital to the physicians. Difficult, yes. But what’s the real alternative?