Physicians Eager to Try Out ACOs, Executive Says

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Most physicians recognize that the U.S. health care system is inefficient and must change. As such, they are eager to give accountable care organizations (ACOs) a try.

So says Jonathan Blum, deputy administrator and director for the Center of Medicare at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Blum offered these comments during a briefing held in Indianapolis yesterday to discuss with various health care stakeholders the proposed ACO regulation issued by CMS last March. The briefing was hosted by the Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE) and the Employer’s Forum of Indiana (EFI).

Blum notes that despite the negative tone of some media coverage detailing the government’s attempts to establish ACOs, many of the 1,200 ACO-related comments comprised favorable physician reactions to the concept. Most of the comments about the proposed regulation included recommendations for improving the upcoming federal ACO program.

However, Blum concedes that some comments sent to CMS were less than positive, with “some pushback” on the program from some stakeholders who deem the proposal too aggressive and "too fast" with care redesign.“We are sensitive to that, but the current incentives aren’t working for anybody”, he asserts. “This is not just a notion promoted by public payors; private payers also agree.”