If you or someone close to you has multiple health problems, you know how frustrating it can be when doctors won’t talk with one another. Prescription mistakes happen, time is wasted going over the same information, and perhaps there is an extraneous emergency room trip due to miscommunication. It is a massive problem, and one that is costing Medicare millions each year.
To solve this, Obama put into motion the Accountable Care Organization model. If all of the doctors work together to care for the patient and avoid emergencies, they are rewarded with keeping some of the money that was saved by keeping the patient healthier. So far, this model has been extremely successful.
If a senior with Medicare has doctors within an ACO, he or she will benefit from coordinated care. The doctors will work together to make health care decisions. There will also be fewer medical tests because all of the offices will share that information. And one of the best features is that the senior will retain autonomy and still be able to choose which health care providers he or she wants to see.
Right now, doctors can join an ACO on a voluntary basis. Although there are strong medical and financial benefits to the providers, some do not care to join. If you do see some doctors in an ACO, you can still see other doctors who are outside of it.
So look to see if your doctor is a part of an ACO, and benefit from these “medical neighborhoods”.