January 14, 2019

Effect of Medicare ACOs on spending for inpatient surgery

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor’s Note

Though Medicare Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) have had some success in reducing spending for medical care, they have not had similar success with surgical spending, this study finds.

Of 341,675 patients at 427 ACO hospitals and 1,024,090 patients at 1,531 non-ACO hospitals analyzed, average baseline payments were similar at ACO versus non-ACO hospitals.

ACO participation was not associated with reductions in total Medicare payments or individual components of payments, nor was participation associated with clinical outcomes.

Because surgical care accounts for 30% of healthcare costs, ACOs and policymakers must pay greater attention to reducing surgical spending, the researchers say.

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