An accountable care organization (“ACO”) is a healthcare delivery entity characterized by a payment model that facilitates coordination among providers — charged with the care of a specified patient population.
Participation in an ACO is voluntary, and participants must be willing to become accountable for the quality, cost, and overall care of the specified population. Commonly, ACOs receive capitated payments based on the size of the patient population served, though other reimbursement models exist. ACO participants are financially incentivized to lower healthcare costs while improving quality as they share in a portion of the excess between total capitated payments and total healthcare costs.
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