ACOs a top priority—eventually

Accountable care organizations top a long list of should-be priorities for the health care industry, a new survey finds, though by reviewing some numbers, you wouldn’t know it.

Despite health care finance executives saying there will be a “renewed focus on developing accountable-care partnerships”—with half saying it should be their top priority—just 9 percent say they are currently focusing on it.

Though ACOs are “allowing health care businesses to share risk, help lower costs and improve quality,” only 56 percent agree that a strong accountable care organization network will trim spending and improve the bottom lines of clinics and hospitals.

“The priorities for the industry as a whole differ from the current priorities of individual organizations right now,” says Mitzi Winters, president and CEO, Global Healthcare Solutions, Firstsource. “This, coupled with financial system overhauls, is creating an extremely complex environment for health care finance executives to navigate. Healthcare reform changes have taken precedence and ICD-10 conversions have been put on the back burner for the time being.”

Similarly, 43 percent of those executives said health care reform changes should be prioritized as a whole for the remainder of the year, but only 22 percent said it actually was.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents indicated that meaningful use mandates were the top priority for their organization, followed by clinical and financial system conversions (27 percent). Only three percent of respondents said conversion to ICD-10 was currently a top priority for their organization.

The survey of 100 professionals in the healthcare finance industry was conducted by Firstsource at ANI: The HFMA National Institute on June 24-27 in Las Vegas.


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