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Overview of ACOs

Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are defined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as:

"Groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to give coordinated, high quality care to their Medicare patients."

ACOs create financial incentives for healthcare providers to coordinate a patient’s care across settings, such as the physician’s office, emergency department or hospital, rehabilitation facility, and nursing home. When ACOs meet certain quality measures, the healthcare providers that have met the standards share in the savings. ACO quality measures fall into four domains:

  • Patient/caregiver experience
  • Care coordination/patient safety
  • Preventive health
  • At-risk population

The ACO quality measures also align with the National Quality Strategy and other federal priorities, such as the Million Hearts Initiative.

Resources to Learn More

Accountable Care Organizations
Website
This website describes ACOs and how they may serve to facilitate the coordination of care.
Organization(s): Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Accountable Care Organizations
Website
This website provides an overview of ACOs as well a answers to frequently asked questions.
Organization(s): American Academy of Family Physicians

Accountable Care Organizations: What Providers Need to Know
Document
This fact sheet provides information for healthcare providers on ACO formation, participation, payments, shared savings, risks, and performance, among other topics.
Organization(s): Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Date: 3/2016

Accountable Care Organizations: Will They Deliver?
Document
This brief examines the ACO concept and reviews lessons learned.
Organization(s): Mathematica Policy Research
Author(s): Gold, M.
Date: 1/2010

National Rural Accountable Care Consortium
Website
The National Rural Accountable Care Consortium is a non-profit organization that provides assistance to rural health systems in achieving accountable care.