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Why Has ACO Growth Slowed?

There were 493 accountable care organizations in the US by the end of September 2013, and they covered 20.1 million lives. These new counts come from Leavitt Partners that has been tracking both public and private ACO development. Surprisingly, ACO growth slowed during the year. Leavitt Partners attributes this slowdown to 3 reasons:

  1. Tapped out market for trailblazers
  2. No proven model to follow
  3. Payer delays

That no proven model currently exists showing the viability of ACOs is critical. Whether the slowed growth is temporary may depend on the renewal rate of ACO contracts in the year ahead. A high rate of contract renewals may be the catalyst for other organizations to adopt the successful ACO models. Earlier this year, 30 of 32 organizations opted to stay in the PIoneer ACO or moved to the Medicare Shared Savings Program; that initial rate of renewal provides optimism for the future of ACOs.

Source: Muhlestein D. Why has ACO growth slowed? Health Affairs Blog, Oct. 31, 2013. http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2013/10/31/why-has-aco-growth-slowed/

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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