ACOs coming to Massachusetts?

From today’s Boston Globe:

Governor Deval Patrick’s administration is reviving the state’s ambitious plan to change how doctors and hospitals are paid, aiming to hand the Legislature a specific proposal by Jan. 1 and end months of disagreement over how to control health care spending. […]

The system, called global payments, would require doctors, hospitals, and other providers to band together into groups called accountable care organizations that would split the payments and better coordinate patient care, thereby improving quality.

These provider groups generally would get a flat per-patient fee, along with incentives for high-quality care, hopefully eliminating the incentive for unnecessary tests and procedures, and encouraging greater focus on preventing serious health problems from developing in the first place.

I’ll be amazed if Massachusetts can pull this off anytime soon. Is this an election-year stunt? Stay tuned.

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