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Vermont’s ACO pilot project: what has been learned so far?

Vermont enacted health reform legislation in 2006 that gave impetus to exploration of how accountable care organizations (ACOs) might be structured in a small state.  Estimates published in 2006 indicate that the patient population for an ACO should be at least “5,000 Medicare beneficiaries, 10,000 Medicaid beneficiaries, or 15,000 commercial beneficiaries in any combination.”  Because these numbers are high for the potential Vermont pilot communities, a way to combine beneficiaries from the commercial payers was worked out.  This white paper describes the principles of the Vermont program, and the structural characteristics and functional capabilities of the ACO pilot sites.  There is no operational ACO yet in the state, but the authors are optimistic that a “bench model” should be up and running within a year or so.

Source: Hester, J., Lewis, J., and McKethan, A.  The Vermont Accountable Care Organization Pilot: A Community Health System to Control Total Medical Costs and Improve Population Health.  The Commonwealth Fund, May 2010.  Full text free here: http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/Files/Publications/Fund%20Report/2010/May/1403_Hester_Vermont_accountable_care_org_pilot.pdf  Posted by AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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