Allison Brennan: Trump's Administration Is Encouraging Risk, but Possibly Too Quickly

By encouraging more providers to take on risk faster, the current administration may actually be disincentivizing providers from participating at all, which would reduce the number of accountable care organizations (ACOs), said Allison Brennan, MPP, senior vice president of government affairs for the National Association of ACOs.

In what ways has the current administration encouraged or discouraged providers from taking on more risk?
The current administration is definitely encouraging providers to assume more accountability in the form of risk. We’ve seen this in a number of difference ways. There really is an emphasis to assume risk more quickly, and that’s something that I think we’re troubled by, but they view increased accountability as one of the main ways to reduce costs. I think we’re pushing back on that notion because we see a lot of really great work being done by our members to reduce costs and improve quality before they’re in a risk-based model.

One thing I would also note is that I think in a way the current administration has discouraged moving to risk by proposing to make the pipeline for ACOs, sort of, diminished. So, if we have fewer ACOs that are incentivized to enter the program, I think long term we’ll see fewer ACOs that are ready to take on risk.

So, it’s sort of a little bit of a catch 22: by pushing people into risk too fast, you may actually disincentivize them from participating at all.
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