August 29, 2014
1 min read

Survey shows doctors predominantly lead ACOs

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Accountable Care Organizations are largely led by physicians or physician and hospital partnerships, according to data published in Health Affairs.

“The broad reach of physician leadership in ACOs has important implications for the future of health care reform,” researcher Carrie H. Colla, PhD, assistant professor of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice, Geisel Medical School, said in a press release. “A central role for physicians in the leadership of ACOs is likely to have a powerful influence on how both physicians and patients view the ACO model.”

Colla and colleagues conducted a national survey of 173 ACOs between October 2012 and May 2013 to determine the leadership and management structure of the organizations.

According to the data, 51% of ACOs are led by physicians and an additional 33% are led jointly by physicians and hospitals. Only 3% of organizations were identified as being run solely by hospitals, and the 13% remaining were led by other organizations. Physicians comprised the majority of governing boards for 78% of ACOs, and they owned the equipment and employed other staff in 40% of ACOs surveyed.

The new ACO program was established as part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, with the intent to create financial incentives for physicians and improve the quality of care, according to the researchers.

“Physicians' buy-in to payment reform is likely to be critical to the success of the health care reform,” study co-author Elliott Fisher, MD, MPH, director of the Dartmouth Institute, said in the release. “The findings suggest that physicians are taking seriously their responsibility to lead change in the health care system on behalf of their patients.”

Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.