Healthcare Law New Coordination Program Pleases Hospitals, But Irks Employers And Insurers

Healthcare Law New Coordination Program Pleases Hospitals, But Irks Employers And Insurers

11/5/2011

 

Hospitals rejoiced while insurers worry about industry consolidation after the Obama administration launched a key program of the healthcare reform law that aims to promote greater coordination among healthcare providers.

Published on Thursday, the long-awaited regulations seek to improve patient outcomes and make the fractured healthcare system of the country more efficient by rewarding efforts to coordinate care.

The Accountable Care Organization program is the main mechanism of the law for transforming the healthcare system. Its success is viewed as vital for shoring up support for a healthcare measure that has been largely criticized for not doing much to control costs.

The program rewards providers of Medicare by permitting them to keep a share of savings that have been obtained through better coordination. The program could save the federal government as much as $940 million over a span of three years, as well as serve millions of Medicare beneficiaries in as many as 270 ACOs.

Back in April, Democrats suffered a setback when the clinics and hospitals that were supposed to be among their strongest allies in their quest for healthcare reform slammed their initial proposal as being too taxing and offers too few incentives. Medicare officials on Thursday underscored the changes that they have made since then.

In a conference call with reporters, Jonathan Blum, the director of the Center for Medicare, said, “We feel that we have struck a better balance between creating a strong business case for providers who want to participate [while] at the same time not taking away the patient protections … included in the proposed rule.”

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com