10 Things You Need to Know to Succeed and Be Happy in an ACO

Leigh Page

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July 28, 2015

In This Article

4. You Don't Necessarily Work Harder in an ACO

Many doctors worry that ACOs will extend their workdays by requiring them to handle such tasks as managing data, writing up care plans, and coordinating care.

This doesn't have to happen, says James Dom Dera, Jr, MD, medical director at the NewHealth Collaborative, an ACO in Akron, Ohio. Jointly run by Summa Health System and independent physicians, NewHealth saved Medicare $11.8 million and earned a$5.7 million bonus last year.

Dr Dera says doctors won't have more work in an ACO because some of their responsibilities will be transferred to other workers. For example, NewHealth provides a dozen registered nurses to work as care managers for practices and plans to hire about six more this year.

He adds that physicians at NewHealth (and elsewhere) can adopt more-efficient processes with the help of "transformation experts," who assist in redesigning the workflow using a team-based approach.

In his own practice, Dr Dera says he's started using a "morning huddle." Every morning, he meets for a few minutes with his medical assistant and administrator to discuss the day's patients, identifying bottlenecks, safety issues, care gaps, and care opportunities. Because of this preparation, "the day runs smoother," he says.

At Palm Beach, too, Dr Sukienik doesn't think the ACO involves a great deal of extra responsibilities. "I know doctors are concerned that there's going to be more work," he says, "but it's really the same amount of work they already do, only more coordinated." Like Dr Dera, he spends time showing doctors how to streamline processes.

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