U.S. health insurer
) has agreed to form an Accountable Care Organization ("ACO")
with Brown & Toland Physicians ("BTP"). This is in sync with
the company's effort to improve the safety and quality of patient
care and make health care more affordable.
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The newly formed ACO will serve Aetna's members who are enrolled
in preferred provider organization ("PPO") and Managed Choice
("MC") plan. It will also cover those who receive care from Brown
& Toland primary care doctors.
Brown & Toland doctors will receive remuneration based on
their performance in reducing patient health care costs while
providing them best service.
An ACO is a collaboration of health care providers who
voluntarily form alliances to provide coordinated high quality
care to patients. An ACO is accountable for the quality, cost,
and overall care offered to members. By focusing on the needs of
patients and linking payments to outcomes, the model is intended
to improve the health of individuals and communities and curb
rising health care costs.
ACOs or collaborative accountable care is one of the several ways
by which President Obama wants to improve the quality of health
of all Americans. It is viewed as a tool that would deliver
seamless, high quality care for the overall population.
The Health Care Reform called for such an arrangement in order to
trim unnecessary expenses associated with the absence of
coordination between multiple physicians and other providers.
Most Americans with multiple chronic conditions receive care from
multiple physicians, and it has been observed that few patients
were not taken care of to the fullest extent possible by some
physicians. A large percentage of the sick population ended up
being victims of medical errors and faced hospital readmissions
within days of their discharge. Thus, ACOs were formed to reduce
the exorbitant amounts spent due to lack of managed care.
Other health insuring giants like
UnitedHealth Group Inc.
) and C
) are also aggressively forming ACOs. Going forward, we expect
such patient-centered collaborations to rapidly grow in numbers.
Aetna currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We are also
maintaining our long-term Neutral recommendation on the