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Survey: Physician Alignment Primary Obstacle to ACO Formation

June 20, 2011
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Healthcare facility administrators and physicians report that the most serious obstacle they face in forming Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) is physician alignment, according to a new survey conducted by U.S. staffing company AMN Healthcare.

The survey asked hospital executives and physicians about their participation in ACOs, and whether or not ACOs will deliver significant cost and quality benefits.

“While capital and data are essential to forming ACOs, the success of this emerging model turns on people,” said Susan Salka, president and CEO of AMN Healthcare, in a release. “Health facility leaders and physicians must align their interests, communicate and cooperate for this model to work.”

Fifty-eight percent of 882 administrators and physicians responding to the survey indicated their facilities are either in the process of forming ACOs or are considering doing so, while 42% said their facilities will not form ACOs in the foreseeable future.

Of those who are moving toward ACOs, 42% said physician alignment is the most serious obstacle to their efforts, followed by lack of capital (38 percent), lack of integrated IT systems (31 percent), and lack of evidence-based treatment protocol data (25 percent).

Of those who are not moving toward ACOs, 40 percent cited physician alignment as a reason they are not, followed by lack of capital (31 percent), lack of integrated IT systems (26 percent), and lack of evidence-based treatment protocol data (23 percent).

The survey further suggests that the majority of healthcare facility administrators and physicians still hold out hope that ACOs will deliver significant cost and quality benefits over time. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed either strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that ACOs will deliver benefits and that they are a key to enhancing quality and reducing costs. However, a significant minority (41%) either strongly disagreed or somewhat disagreed with that statement.

Final rules on Medicare ACOs are expected from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by fall 2011.

The full results of the AMN Healthcare survey are available here under the “Surveys” header. Completion of a form is required before results become available for download.

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