How should ACOs choose hospital partners?


Though quality, utilization and safety data for hospitals is fairly robust, accountable care organizations evaluating potential hospital partners should look beyond that data, according to Salt Lake City-based healthcare intelligence firm Leavitt Partners. That's because the changing dynamics of the healthcare landscape mean a picture of where an organization has been may not illustrate where it is going.

Instead, Leavitt Partners produced a list of qualitative characteristics or abilities ACO leaders should look for when evaluating a hospital partner. These characteristics were devised after 18 months of research, including literature review, meetings with healthcare leaders across sectors and interviews with ACOs and provider associations. Research was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Here is a listing of 10 of the key high-value characteristics for hospital ACO partners, as defined by Leavitt Partners.

  1. Demonstrates patient experience is valued through strategy decisions, community reputation and level of patient engagement on governance boards.
  2. Works to continuously expand access to care.
  3. Demonstrates commitment to transforming the financial model of care.
  4. Keeps meaningful collaborative relationships with providers.
  5. Makes an effort to redirect care to lowest-cost settings.
  6. Implements procedures to ensure smooth transitions of care.
  7. Coordinates care between departments.
  8. Capable of safely sharing actionable EHR data internally and externally.
  9. Demonstrates a history of process improvement and enthusiasm to continue long-term quality improvement initiatives.
  10. Possesses the confidence and ability to absorb short-term financial losses while moving to a risk-based model.

For more detailed information to guide qualitative hospital evaluation, read Leavitt Partner's issue brief "Defining High-Value Hospitals for ACO Partnerships " here.


More articles on accountable care:

Delaware Valley ACO, Humana renew value-based contract
Mission Health Partners, FirstCarolinaCare form Medicare Advantage partnership
5 factors that can make or break consumer engagement in Medicaid ACOs

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