Consolidation of physician practices linked to ACOs, study finds

The formation of ACOs may contribute to increased consolidation among physician practices, according to a study published in Health Affairs.

For the study, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore examined how physician practice size changed in counties when ACO presence increased at the county level.

The researchers found from 2010-15, there was a 4 percentage point increase in large practices in counties with the most ACO penetration, compared to counties with no ACO penetration. At the same time, there was a 2.7 percentage point decline in smaller physician practices.

"The growth of large practices was concentrated in specialty and hospital-owned practices. These findings suggest that ACOs may contribute to the concentration of physician practices," the researchers said.

Read the study here

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