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5 Takeaways From the ACO Coalition Spring Live Meeting

Laura Joszt
At the spring live meeting of the ACO & Emerging Healthcare Delivery Coalition in Scottsdale, Arizona, attendees heard presentations and participated in workshops that discussed better integration of care, improved use of technology, and the future of healthcare and the Affordable Care Act.
At the spring live meeting of the ACO & Emerging Healthcare Delivery Coalition in Scottsdale, Arizona, attendees heard presentations and participated in workshops that discussed better integration of care, improved use of technology, and the future of healthcare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
 
To learn more about the Coalition and the fall live meeting, which will be held October 20-21, 2016, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, visit the conference page.
 
Here are 5 takeaways from the 2-day meeting that was held April 28-29.
 
1. Providing better behavioral health is key
Currently, the healthcare industry is trying to care for people with behavioral health issues in the medical sector, which is leading to their care being delivered in a piecemeal way, explained Roger Kathol, MD, CPE, president of Cartsian Solutions, Inc, and a professor psychiatry at the University of Minnesota.
 
“If you have separate behavioral and medical, you are at a disadvantage already,” he said.
 
Now with accountable care organizations (ACOs) are accountable for both the health and cost of the population it services, addressing both medical and behavioral issues will lead to improved outcomes, he added.
 
And John Santopietro, MD, chief clinical officer of behavioral health at Carolinas Healthcare, spent his own presentation outlining the telemedicine solution Carolinas has implemented in order to better serve patients with behavioral health issues.
 
Carolinas has created a virtual behavioral health provider team that can be deployed to care for patients in multiple practices and can provide telepsychiatry visits.
 
“If you do it that way, you can deploy [the team] much more effectively,” Dr Santopietro said.
 
2. ACO accreditation is voluntary … for now
Michael Massey, MD, from Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance, outlined the voluntary ACO accreditation that his organization went through with the National Committee for Quality Assurance.
 
As of now, only a small handle of ACOs have gone through this accreditation process, which is meant to identify which ACOs could be good partners. Seeking accreditation allowed the Quality Alliance to see where it had gaps and more work to do to provide quality care, Dr Massey said.
 
As of now, this voluntary ACO accreditation is just in the beginning stages and most valuable for the ACOs to look internally and see how they can improve, Dennis Scanlon, PhD, professor of health policy and administration and director of the Center for Health Care and Policy at the Pennsylvania State University, explained during the panel discussion following Dr Massey’s presentation.
 
Lysette Cournoyer, a consultant, added that the voluntary accreditation for ACOs is similar to how accreditation started for patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs), and similar to PCMHs, accreditation for ACOs is likely to expand in the coming years.
 


 
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