Physicians — not hospitals — increasingly leading ACOs

Most ACOs have been led by physician groups since 2015, according to a study published in The American Journal of Managed Care.

This wasn't always the case. From 2010-15, hospitals and health systems sponsored the majority of new ACOs, according to researchers from Leavitt Partners, Dartmouth College in Lebanon, N.H, Duke University in Durham, N.C., and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. However, in 2018, physician group-led ACOs represented about 45 percent of all ACOs, with hospitals accounting for 25 percent of ACOs and joint-led ACOs representing 30 percent. 

The researchers said physician-led ACOs will likely be the dominant type of ACO in the future, given their greater market potential. But since hospitals and health systems led many early ACOs, policies and strategies surrounding ACOs were largely designed for those organizations and not physician groups. 

"Policy makers need to create programs and policies that facilitate physician-led ACOs' success by helping them develop the capacity to take on risk, finance investments in high-value healthcare, and partner with other organizations to provide the full spectrum of care," the researchers said.

Read the full study here

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