The National Business Group on Health is releasing two new tools designed to help employers understand and evaluate Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). These are self-insured health benefit plan models in which employers directly contract with medical providers and third-party administrators in order to design efficient plans while lowering costs.
The NBGH’s ACO Journey Map is meant to provide employers considering offering ACOs to their employees with assess to six critical competencies of an ACO along a development path. These areas include clinical governance, network, care model, consumer experience, technology, analytics, and finance model.
Meanwhile, the ACO Scoring Guide provides health plans, ACOs and employers with instructions and detailed definitions of each competency in the ACO Journey Map.
“We are seeing a shift in strategy among large employers to focus more on the inefficiencies of the health care delivery system rather than changes in benefit plan design as a way to control health care costs,” says Brian Marcotte, president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health. “ACOs have the potential to deliver lower-cost, higher-quality and more consumer-focused health care. However, with over 900 ACOs in the marketplace, and most varying in size, provider-mix, leadership structure, quality measures, performance and other characteristics, employers have many questions about how ACOs deliver value better than the network models they offer today. That’s one of the main reasons we developed these resources.”
Both resources are part of the ACO Toolkit: A Road Map for Employers, which is designed to guide employers through the implementation of an ACO strategy from assessing market opportunities and understanding ACO readiness to considering plan design options and improving employee engagement.
“ACOs are at various stages of maturity,” explains Marcotte. “Some are just coming together while others are more developed and all continue to evolve. We are strongly committed to helping employers determine when and how to make ACOs an integral part of their overall health care benefits strategy. Offering employers these two resources is an important step to help achieve that goal.”