Billings Clinic – An Accountable Care Organization
Billings Clinic has been selected as an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) by Medicare. Doctors and health care providers can establish Accountable Care Organizations in order to work together to provide high-quality care to their patients.
Medicare Fee-for-Service beneficiaries using ACOs always have the freedom to choose doctors inside or outside of the ACO. Accountable Care Organizations share with Medicare any savings generated from lowering the growth in health care costs, while meeting standards for quality of care.
ACOs must meet quality standards to ensure that savings are achieved through improving care coordination and providing care that is appropriate, safe, and timely. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has established 33 quality measures on:
- care coordination and patient safety
- appropriate use of preventive health services
- patient and caregiver experience of care
Federal savings from this initiative are up to $940 million over four years.
"Accountable Care Organizations save money for Medicare and deliver higher-quality care to people with Medicare. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more doctors and hospitals are working together to give people with Medicare the high-quality care they expect and deserve,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius."
Will an ACO Change My Medicare Benefits?
- An ACO is not a Medicare Advantage plan or an HMO plan.
- If you have traditional Medicare, you still have the right to use any doctor or hospital who accepts Medicare, at any time.
- Your health care provider may continue to recommend that you see particular doctors for your specific health needs, but it’s always your choice about what doctors you use or hospitals you visit.
How Will An ACO Help My Doctor Coordinate My Care?
- You benefit because your doctors will be part of a coordinated team.
- You may not have to fill out as many medical forms that ask for the same information.
- Each of your doctors will not only know about the health issues they’ve treated, they will have a more complete picture of your health through talking with your other doctors.