One in 10 patients already in an ACO

Accountable care organizations—the way they look today—have only been around a few years. But, already these HMO throwbacks are “disrupting markets” as the experts over at Oliver Wyman declare in their latest report, “The ACO Surprise."

In fact, ACOs—as quietly established in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—have managed to gobble a 10 percent market share already. Oliver Wyman’s conclusion? These new health care models are here to stay.

“In fact, we believe that though there is much work left to do, ACOs in a remarkably short period of time have become a substantial part of American health care, with the potential to catalyze lasting, positive change as they begin to deliver the results they promise,” study authors Niyum Gandhi and Richard Weil predict.

The actual numbers, as broken down in the report, show 2.4 million Medicare patients in ACOs, 15 million non-Medicare patients in Medicare-oriented ACOs and roughly 8 million to 14 million patients in non-Medicare ACOs for a total population of 25 million to 31 million of the country’s medical patients in ACOs.

“We would argue that this is remarkably quick growth for a new and complex form of payment and care delivery. But it is really only a fraction of the potential impact these provider organizations can have,” the authors argue. “Successful ACOs won’t just siphon patients away from traditional providers and attract the attention of payers, employers, and partner organizations. They will change the rules of the game in the regions where they operate, leading purchasers to expect lower costs, higher quality, and greater patient satisfaction.”

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