Published in Non-Clinical

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

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3 min read

Accountable care organizations, ACOs, are effecting healthcare and optometry. Vision Source's efforts with ACOs are important for independent optometry.

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! 😎
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 patients
  • 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, OD

Ryan Corte attended The Ohio State University College of Optometry and graduated in 2012. He completed an Optometric Residency in Primary Care and Ocular Disease at the Illinois College of Optometry in 2013. He currently splits time between Modern Eye Care and Premier Family Eye Care in metropolitan Charlotte, NC. Ryan is a former Executive President of the American Optometric Student Association. He also serves on the Student and New Graduate Committee of the American Optometric Association.

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