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Study examines relationship of a commercial ACO contract with medical spending
Date:8/28/2013

Payment incentives implemented with a commercial accountable care organization (ACO) initiative in Massachusetts Blue Cross Blue Shield's Alternative Quality Contract (AQC) were associated with lower spending for Medicare enrollees served by the provider groups participating in the AQC, findings that suggest that evaluations of ACO programs may need to consider the implications for other patient populations to assess their full clinical and economic benefits, according to a study in the August 28 issue of JAMA.

"In response to mounting pressures to deliver more cost-effective care, provider organizations have exhibited increasing willingness to assume financial risk for the quality and costs of the care they provide. More than 250 provider groups have contracted with Medicare as ACOs, and many similar payment arrangements have been reached with commercial insurers by these and other groups," according to background information in the article. "In a multipayer system, new payment incentives implemented by one insurer for an ACO may also affect spending and quality of care for another insurer's enrollees served by the ACO. Such spillover effects reflect the extent of organizational efforts to reform care delivery and can contribute to the net impact of ACOs."

J. Michael McWilliams, M.D., Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues conducted a study to examine whether the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Massachusetts' Alternative Quality Contract (AQC), an early commercial ACO initiative associated with reduced spending and improved quality for BCBS enrollees, was also associated with changes in spending and quality for Medicare beneficiaries, who were not covered by the AQC. The study included comparisons from 2007-2010 of elderly fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries in Massachusetts served by 11 provider organizations entering the AQC in 2009 or 2010 (intervention group) vs. beneficiaries served by other providers (cont
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Contact: David Cameron
david_cameron@hms.harvard.edu
617-432-0441
The JAMA Network Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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