The Medicare Shared Savings Program is not producing rapid rewards for the systems that are piloting accountable care organizations in the initial wave of the project. “Becoming an ACO doesn’t improve the bottomline, to say the least,” said Mark Hiller, vice president of innovative solutions at Premier, which has developed an accountable care financial model for systems thinking of introducing the program. In fact, the opposite is true, with ACOs actually having a negative impact on hospital finances. “It may take some time to actually break even,” he said. “At the end of the day, this is a market share play; it’s not a financial play,” said Charles Vignos, chief operating officer of the NewHealth Collaborative, the ACO at Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio. Deborah Bloomfield, chief financial officer at Mercy Health in Cincinnati, also noted that the decision to become an ACO in July was a “strategic decision,” not a financial one.
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