Private-Payer ACOs Good for Medicare, Study Says

Medicare may enjoy the fruits of the growing and varied work among private payers and providers to boost value in healthcare, though the benefits will come sooner to costs than quality, a study suggests.

Medicare may enjoy the fruits of the growing and varied work among private payers and providers to boost value in healthcare, though the benefits will come sooner to costs than quality, a study suggests.

Harvard University researchers analyzed spending and quality measures for Medicare patients at 11 Massachusetts health systems with Blue and Cross Blue Shield contracts to manage costs and healthcare quality for commercially insured patients. Under these “alternative quality contracts,” which began in 2009 or 2010, spending fell by 1.9% during the first year and 3.3% during the second year for the commercially insured patients and quality improved.

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Source: Modern Healthcare

The research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, examined the extent to which strategies that lower spending and improve quality for one group of patients would spill over and indirectly benefit other patients. The results show that spending dropped among patients who were not targeted by cost-control strategies, but few quality gains.