Pandemic Pause: Systematic Review of Cost Variables for Ambulatory Care Organizations Participating in Accountable Care Organizations
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Ambulatory health care provider organizations participating in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) organizations assume costs beyond typical practice operations that are directly associated with value-based care initiatives. Identifying these variables that influence such costs are essential to an organization’s financial viability. To enable the U.S. healthcare system to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic CMS issued blanket waivers that permit enhanced flexibility, extension, and other emergency declaration changes to ACO reporting requirements through the unforeseen future. This relaxation and even pausing of reporting requirements encouraged the researchers to conduct a systematic review and identify variables that have influenced costs incurred by ambulatory care organizations participating in ACOs prior to the emergency declaration. The research findings identified ACO-ambulatory care variables (enhanced patient care management, health information technology improvements, and organizational ownership/reimbursement models) that helped to reduce costs to the ambulatory care organization. Additional variables (social determinants of health/environmental conditions, lack of integration/standardization, and misalignment of financial incentives) were also identified in the literature as having influenced costs for ambulatory care organizations while participating in an ACO initiative with CMS. Findings can assist ambulatory care organizations to focus on new and optimized strategies as they begin to prepare for the post-pandemic resumption of ACO quality reporting requirements once the emergency declaration is eventually lifted.
CitationLieneck, C., Weaver, E., & Maryon, T. (2021). Pandemic pause: Systematic review of cost variables for ambulatory care organizations participating in accountable care organizations. Healthcare, 9(2), 198.
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