How ACOs can avoid antitrust scrutiny

Accountable care organizations create large networks that could run the risk of being deemed anticompetitive. However, it is competition that will help accountable care thrive, by driving quality and cost improvements.

Government officials speaking this week at the American Bar Association's Washington Health Law Summit said ACOs can avoid violating antitrust laws by creating access to new services and professionals to patients that were previously unavailable, according to Bloomberg BNA.  ACOs must provide documentable new benefits to the market, officials said, according to the report.

"One of the big things when reviewing an ACO is whether the payers like it," said Peter Mucchetti of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division, according to the report. Payer favor can help show the benefits of the organization, he said.

According to the report, the officials said ACOs primarily need to watch out for exclusive arrangements that block possible competitors and over-reliance on state certificate of need or certificate of public advantage laws. These laws don't create immunity from antitrust laws, according to the report.

More articles on accountable care:

UnitedHealthcare, IHN of Wisconsin exceed quality goals in first year of ACO

Lee Memorial, Florida Blue launch ACO

Realizing the patient potential in accountable care: Q&A with Dr. Tim Hernandez of Community Health Network

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