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What is an ACO?
- ACOs have an agreement with Medicare to be financially accountable for the quality, cost and experience of care you receive.
- An ACO isn’t a Medicare Advantage plan which is an “all in one” alternative to Original Medicare, offered by private companies approved by Medicare. An ACO isn’t an HMO plan, or an insurance plan of any kind.
How do ACOs work?
- Coordinated care can avoid wasted time and costs for repeated tests and unneeded appointments. It may make it easier to spot potential problems before they become more serious - like drugs interactions that can happen if one doctor isn’t aware of what another has prescribed.
- ACOs may use electronic health records, case managers, and electronic prescriptions to help you stay health. Some ACOs have special programs to encourage you to have a primary care visit or use their care management team. Participation in these programs is optional.
What information will be shared about me?
- Medicare shares information about your care with your health care providers; like dates and times you visited a health care provider, your medical conditions, and a list of past and current prescriptions. This information helps the ACO track the care and tests that you’ve already had.
- Sharing your data helps make sure all the providers involved in your care have access to your health information when and where they need it.
- ACOs must put important safeguards in place to make sure all your health care information is safe.
How can you make the most of getting care from an ACO?
Ask your clinician if they have a secure online portal that gives you 24-hour access to your personal health information, including lab results and provider recommendations. This will help you make informed decisions about your health care, track your treatment, and monitor your health outcomes.
When multiple healthcare providers work independently, with little communication or shared information, the result may be fragmented care which may not deliver optimal quality and value. ACOs help to solve this problem.