The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released proposed regulations on accountable care organizations (ACOs). The rules will guide provider organizations in setting up exchanges of healthcare data to improve care and reduce costs, as mandated under the Accountable Care Act.
The industry is certainly anxiously awaiting this rule, as it is the most hyped since meaningful use, but could very well begin the redefinition of our nation's healthcare system. Accountable care organizations are pivotal to the federal government's plan to reduce healthcare costs and improve quality. Some providers, such as Intermountain Health in Utah, have been using an approach that is similar to ACOs for years. Collaborations between doctors and other providers make care more uniform, based on the best outcomes. Often, this care is also the most cost-effective. Some have called ACOs the HMOs of today.