Emerging Medicaid Accountable Care Organizations: The Role of Managed Care
June 01, 2012
The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured has just released a brief on Medicaid Accountable Care Organizations. This brief examines efforts by a number of states to set up Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) within their Medicaid programs. An ACO is a provider-run, integrated health care delivery system in which providers are collectively responsible for the care of an enrolled population, and may share in any savings associated with improvements in the quality and efficiency of care. The structure of Medicaid ACO initiatives is influenced by individual states’ experience with managed care, other existing care delivery arrangements within Medicaid, and the challenges of serving low-income and chronically ill populations. Cost-containment also is a motivating factor, and states must balance short-term cost-containment pressures against the investments in partnerships and delivery system redesign necessary for the success of Medicaid ACOs over the longer term.