On October 20, 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released an advance copy of the final rule for accountable care organizations (ACOs). Additional governmental guidance was issued to address antitrust and tax considerations. The following article summarizes the government’s key points in the final rule.
ACOs Represent a Model for Seamless and Coordinated Care. In its announcement of the final rule, the government highlighted that ACOs represent a major step forward for transforming Medicare and Medicaid to help assure high quality and seamless health care for continuous improvement. The government defines “seamless and coordinated care” in reference to what patients want. Patients want time with doctors, care that makes sense, is coordinated. Patients wants their doctors working together so they don’t get confused or lost in the system. They want better communication, from reminders for appointments to more information about medical decisions. They want a promise that their own doctor will know if they have an issue and seek care elsewhere.
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