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Accountable Care Organizations Look Before You Leap

June 14, 2010

By James F. Owens & Jenny J. Wang

Accountable care organization, or ACO, is a potential new model of healthcare delivery and payment system and has been a key component of the healthcare reform debate. It is currently a hot topic amongst healthcare providers, consultants and think tanks, and has sparked a flurry of forums and conferences on how to structure and implement an ACO. The recently passed healthcare reform act mandates the federal government to establish an ACO-based Medicare shared savings program by January 1, 2012, and multiple private organizations and state agencies throughout the country have already started developing demonstration projects of their own.