Accountable care organizations (ACOs) need to properly deploy medical management in pursuit of certain utilization and cost targets. This dynamic is explained as part of a recent briefing paper on the nuts and bolts of ACOs. Here is an excerpt:
ACO’s should focus initial medical management efforts on reducing leakage to hospitals and specialists that are not part of the ACO. This will increase volume to ACO providers and help offset revenue loss due to improved utilization management. Inpatient utilization management is another target for initial medical management efforts particularly since inpatient costs make up approximately 30% of total costs for a commercially insured population and 37% of total Medicare Part A and B spend. Successful ACOs will focus medical management efforts both on avoiding potentially unnecessary admissions and on reducing inpatient hospital leakage (admissions to hospitals not associated with the ACO). Potential reductions in admission vary significantly by admission type, so identifying real opportunities requires analyzing historical data to identify impactable and non-impactable admissions. In particular, ambulatory care sensitive admissions, preference sensitive admissions, and readmissions are considered as impactable (see Definitions). Claims data logic available from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and published reports can help identify benchmark rates for these impactable admissions—and a sense of how many can actually be eliminated.
See the full paper for more detail and for citations.