By Gregg A. Masters, MPH
So one view holds, ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’ (i.e., it’s deja vu all over again), while the present day, ‘enlightened’ [or perhaps event horizon naive] view suggests, ‘no this time, things really are/can be different’. Just enter the key enabler: [ _________ ] e.g, technology, ubiquitous internet/device access, healthcare costs are now threatening countries, not just industries, patient empowerment, better ‘skin-in-the-game’ plan design, pure desperation, you name it, etc.
Even at this late stage in the early implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) we still find ourselves in a muddled and often confusing if not selectively implemented [or waived] regulatory market with respect to the ability of the Act to achieve its ends via the proscribed means. Yet, ACA is the law and most of us ‘on the ground’ [or closely following the action] are either muddling though and/or boldly going forward amidst a vague and ambitious yet mandatory journey – enabling the ‘triple aim‘.
One large moving part of the ACA that disproportionately bears the burden of the Act’s efficacy, that is mission critical and must be interstitially infused inside delivery system [and financing/risk sharing if not assumption] transformational efforts is ‘the ACO’ – including it’s many non Federal derivatives operating in the commercial space.
Unfortunately once you’ve seen an ACO, well, you’ve seen one ACO
[NOTE: For some context see 'More or Less Confusion in ACO World: Who Really 'Certifies' ACOs?, 'Accountable Care: In Search of Anchor Business Model(s) for the 'All In' Healthcare Eco-system', and 'IPA 2.0 the Preferred ACO Chassis?'].
Other then some broad brush guidance in the ACA and the regulatory follow-up via rules implementation, there is much room for variation on how the ‘Ark’ is to be built, governed and operated. Ergo the continuing conversation around one key pillar in the launch of a viable ACO, i.e., physician alignment with enterprise and market goals, or by proxy achieving the underlying clinical integration essential to seamless, coordinated, efficient and appropriate delivery of evidenced based care.
While there is much to learn, there are principles in evidence on which to build, i.e., successes in the market. If you want to learn more from an eclectic mix of players in the space, consider attending the ACO Alignment Summit.
Details of the panel session on alignment are here:
I am pleased to say that I will be moderating the Keynote Panel Discussion:
‘Drive Towards the Development of Tomorrow’s Accountable Health Care Delivery System’ with some talented colleagues from different markets around the country.
Joining me in this deep dive are: Nicole Bradberry, Chief Executive Officer, Florida Association of ACOs, President and Co-Founder, Citra Health Solutions; President, MZI Healthcare, Diwen Chen, Executive Director, Payment Innovation and Accountable Care, Dignity Health, and Bruce Miller, FACHE, Vice President, Network Development, Baylor Quality Alliance, Baylor Scott and White.
This is a unique blend of talented thought leaders and host business models from three different domestic U.S. markets all with distinctly different geo-political healthcare footprints. Nicole sits atop a member based association of ACOs in Florida (in addition to her leadership role at MZI Healthcare a vendor, consultant and health IT infrastructure play), while Diwen hails from a progressive institutionally managed integrated delivery system with hospital DNA Dignity Health, and Bruce stewards Network and Quality Management issues for an integrated group medical practice/IDN Scott and White that recently merged with the flagship Baylor Health System to combine two trophy properties (with distinctly different cultures, imj) in the Lonestar state.
This will be a ‘roll up your sleeves’ exchange on lessons learned in ACO alignment as well insights into the ‘how do I navigate the white waters of clinical integration’ given the local market considerations I face?