More Physician Groups Lead Accountable Care Organizations

There were more physician-led accountable care organizations (ACOs) than hospital-led ACOs by 2018, according to a study from Leavitt Partners. Physician-led ACOs accounted for approximately 45 percent of all ACOs in 2018, whereas hospital-led ACOs represented just 25 percent and joint-led ACOs represented 30 percent, revealed the study recently published in The American Journal of Managed Care. The percentages were notably different eight years prior when just 22 percent of ACOs were led by physician groups, the study found. That year, ACOs led by both a hospital system and a provider group dominated, accounting for 63 percent of the ACO market. Hospital-led ACOs accounted for just 16 percent. Physician-led ACOs have become increasingly popular as the model matured and could become the dominant type of ACO within the next few years. Physician groups increasingly led ACOs by 2018, but these groups could operate many more ACOs in the coming years as their market potential is significantly stronger than for hospital- or health system-led ACOs, the study found. Recent healthcare merger and acquisition trends could result in physician groups large enough to enter accountable care contracts, and physician groups with at least 15 providers could potentially form an ACO, researchers explained.

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