por Loren Bonner
, DOTmed News Online Editor | January 02, 2014
Hospital participation in accountable care organizations is expected to double in 2014, according to an online survey commissioned by Premier Inc., an alliance of roughly 3,000 U.S. hospitals focused on improving care and reducing costs.
In August of this year, Premier surveyed 115 hospital executives — mostly CEOs, CTOs, and COOs — and asked them about their ACO participation. About 50 percent of respondents said that their hospital would join an ACO by the end of 2014. Overall, 76.5 percent of respondents said their hospital does or will participate in an ACO, according to Premier.
"Survey results report steady ACO growth and this growth is likely to continue," said Alven Weil, director of public relations at Premier, during a conference call about the survey results.
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ACOs, which are part of the Affordable Care Act, are essentially a network of doctors who share responsibility for a patient's care and are not paid for their individual services but are instead incentivized with bonuses for keeping costs down.
Premier's survey results suggest that large hospitals and hospitals in integrated delivery networks (IDNs) are most likely to participate in ACOs while rural hospitals and stand-alone hospitals are least likely to participate. Small hospitals said they need more time.
One reason for the slow pace of participation for some of these hospitals might have to do with the cost associated with an ACO. Unless the hospital already has the IT infrastructure in place, it can cost up to $12 million to adopt, according to the American Hospital Association. Although IT costs are one of the more expensive aspects of ACOs, it's a critical part of the ACO model.
According to Joseph Damore, Premier's vice president for population health, they are seeing an increase of interest from mid-sized and large hospitals in ACO participation.
"The survey is consistent with our observations," he said.