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Population health in a community hospital ACO

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An article in Health Affairs asks:

“{W}hen it comes to actual operations, what does ‘population health’ look like in an ACO, particularly in ACOs led by community hospitals? Do ACOs see their role in population health management as caring for their patient populations as a whole? Patients in their catchment areas? In their communities? And how do those views ‘sync’ with the care delivery and partnership approaches that hospital-based ACOs are actually using?”

“But when ACO leaders were asked what sorts of community health programs and services they were either employing or planning to employ within six months, the top three answers were, instead, related to care coordination, chronic-disease management, and health education.

“Similar to the aforementioned reasoning, this suggests that many ACOs may be taking a ‘walk before they run’ approach, establishing basic ACO infrastructure first before tackling more targeted community needs. It also implies that an additional focus may be needed on helping ACOs to expand their view—and services—beyond their current patient population.

“Likewise, while 71 percent of ACO leaders are either offering, or plan to offer, integrated physical and behavioral health services … fewer than 25 percent believe their ACOs will have adequate numbers of behavioral health staff to meet their populations’ needs.”

To read the Health Affairs article, please hit this link.

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