By David Martin, President and CEO of VeinInnovations
Last week, we were are shocked (but not surprised) by the incredible amount of financial waste in medicine. When 30 cents of every dollar spent on your care is going to waste, it’s imperative that we work together to create a better way of doing business.
Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) hope to be the means of lowering costs. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services defines ACOs as, “…groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high quality care to their Medicare patients.” The intended goal of an ACO is to bring all aspects of your medical care together in the hopes of better results and lower costs. An ACO’s fee structure will radically differ from the status quo. Traditionally, providers are compensated based on a “fee for service” structure. It means that the doctors and hospitals make their living based on each procedure or test they administer or provide, regardless of how the procedure affects the health of the patient.
Financial waste in medicine is caused by unnecessary care, poorly delivered services, frivolous paperwork, fraud, lack of coordination of patient care and other waste. ACOs are a new system. The government is testing the effectiveness of ACOs right now. If they do what they’re intended to, imagine the positive affect they could have on lowering health care costs. If your medical treatment is run as a team effort, it should cut down on unnecessary, duplicate tests. When the goal is to make you well and keep you out of the hospital, you win. And so does everyone’s wallet. There are a lot of “ifs” in this paragraph. Though there are many people excited about the potential of ACOs, we’ll have to watch and wait to see how well they work. One last if: should the government see the results they’re hoping for, private insurance companies may start their own ACOs.