Population Health Management – Why Are ACOs So Important for Optometry?

This is a sponsored post by Vision Source, a supporter of NewGradOptometry & new graduate optometrists! 😎 

Population Health Management – Why Are They So Important for Optometry?

It’s no surprise that healthcare in the United States, as we know it, is changing! Buried in the ~2,300 page health care reform bill are 7 pages dedicated to accountable care organizations (ACOs). Although a small portion of the bill, ACO’s will have a significant impact on your professional life!

What are ACOs?

  • Formed by the Affordable Care Act as a way of decreasing healthcare costs
  • A group of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers who provide coordinated, high quality care to their Medicare patients
  • Providers are responsible for the health of their patients and are financially rewarded based on their ability to save health care dollars by focusing on preventative care
  • 14% of the insured population is involved with an ACO including 4 million Medicare enrollees and 428 provider groups as of April 2014

The Effects of ACOs on healthcare

  • A strong emphasis towards patient centered, high quality care measured via:
    • Patient/caregiver experiences
    • Care coordination
    • Patient safety
    • Preventative health
    • At risk (elderly) population health
  • An emphasis on performing more efficient testing within the fee-for-service model
    • Better overall reimbursements for physicians that keep patients healthy and out of the hospital
  • Improved communication between health care providers to avoid unnecessary duplication of services and preventable medical errors
  • More hospital systems, less individual providers and what could lead to less provider options for patients

The Effects of ACOs on optometry

  • A large focus on access to patient care and referrals
    • Practices that are excluded from their local ACOs may see a large impact on their bottom line
  • Increased opportunity in early detection and disease management
  • Greater government control of healthcare delivery by standardization of services through penalizations and incentives
  • Independents must keep current on administrative requirements to avoid audits
  • Re-evaluate office procedures and use electronic medical records to improve efficiencies
  • Increase patient satisfaction = increased reimbursements

Why is Vision Source Membership important in this new health care environment

  • PCPs that are members of ACOs need cost effective and efficient eye care for their patientsVS_Gold_Stack_Helmet cut OL Logo
  • Nearly 3,000 locations in all 50 states, Vision Source, as the largest group of independent doctors.
  • 70+ healthcare delivery relationships – there will be an estimated 7 million patients coming into their vision source practices due to these 70+ relationships
  • Vision Source has instituted programs like “Refer a friend” to put Vision Source offices in areas with low/no coverage in order to expand the independent network and create appeal for ACOs
  • Local VS community groups meet regularly to share and react to the current healthcare landscape
  • Education on ICD-10, Meaningful Use and HIPAA



About Ryan Corte O.D.

Ryan Corte O.D.

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