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The Importance of Patient-Centered Care for ACOs

It’s been an exciting time to be a healthcare provider around here as Michigan makes a name for itself as a leader in forming high-quality ACOs. In light of this, our team has been focusing on how to best adapt to the changes within the structure of the new ACOs. While both the mainstream press and medical research journals have turned their attention toward considering what impact the formation of ACOs will have on the role of the provider, the General Medicine team has come to a somewhat different conclusion: within ACOs, it is not the role of the provider but the role of the patient that will undergo the most significant change.

nurse-providing-patient-centered-careWhile this kind of awareness is a healthy part of professional development and a natural inclination for anyone concerned with healthcare organization and policy, the general discourse seems to be overlooking the most significant new roles and responsibilities brought about by the introduction of ACOs: those belonging to the patient. Patient-centered care is critical to the success of ACOs, and I’d like to redirect the public conversation to establishing a clear understanding of patient-centered care and its importance to ACOs.

The concept of patient-centered care was first proposed by a number of American medical associations in 2007. Since then, this model has gained popularity due to its positive achievements in promoting primary care delivery to patients across the country. Through its implementation, patient-centered care has helped to coordinate care, improve access, quality, prevention and safety among subscribed primary care practices. Generally, patient-centered care focuses on the needs of the patients by giving them the help they need, when they need it and the way they need it.

ACOs are grounded in patient-centered care and created upon an agreement that the constituent providers to be accountable for the quality, cost and general care of traditional Medicare beneficiaries. In fact, Medicare is an essential component of ACOs under the new Affordable Care Act, which requires ACOs to care for a minimum of 5,000 Medicare patients for at least three years.

Patient-centered care also focuses on educating the population in matters of health. As a result, current and future patients are well informed about their illnesses and the causes and can be proactive in taking preventative measures in their daily lives. Additionally, they learn the importance of preventive services, such as vaccination and regular physical examinations.

The importance of patient-centered care lies in providing an opportunity for ACOs to offer quality services that meet each patient’s diverse needs. It provides high-quality, individualized care that is made available for the patients in a cost-effective manner. Because of the number of quality measures put in place to govern ACOs ensures that only well-equipped and able medical groups will be included. Set regulations call for detailed applications regular performance reporting so health care beneficiaries can be secure that they are receiving high-quality patient care.

General Medicine is a group practice of board certified physicians and advanced nurse practitioners who specialize in providing cost-effective, patient-centered care and “post-hospitalist” medicine to ACOs, hospitals and other health systems. Each year, General Medicine provides over 300,000 patients with geriatric care, physical medicine, rehabilitation, and general internal medical services to patients in various types of post-acute facilities and other long-term care settings. If you would like to learn more about how General Medicine can assist you achieve the highest quality of patient-centered care, contact us today.

Tom Prose