(Reuters) – Consumers intrigued by the new model of accountable healthcare – which promises better-coordinated care that could save lots of money – are going to have to actively seek out participating providers.
A tenet of accountable care is better quality: doctors are paid to keep patients healthy, rather than for treating them when they are sick. Some programs even penalize providers for too many hospitalizations or not keeping overall costs down.
The changes are being driven by the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, which calls for experimentation in cost-cutting for Medicare.
The narrowest definition of an accountable care organization is one that is on a list of about 250 officially participating in a Medicare pilot program. But not all are at the same stage of implementation, and there is also a growing list of others adopting the model.