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Preparing for Accountable Care OrganizationsPreparing for Accountable Care Organizations: A Physician Primer

Randall T. Curnow, Jr, MD, MBA; Jesse T. Doers, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

From Summit Medical Group, PLLC (Dr Curnow); and Statcare Pulmonary Consults (Dr Doers), a subsidiary of Summit Medical Group, PLLC, Knoxville, TN.

Correspondence to: Randall T. Curnow Jr, MD, MBA, Summit Medical Group, PLLC, 1225 E Weisgarber Rd, Ste 200, Knoxville, TN 37909; e-mail: rcurnow@summithealthcare.com


Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2013;143(4):1140-1144. doi:10.1378/chest.12-2299
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The concept of the accountable care organization (ACO) offers the opportunity to better integrate the health system into a value proposition aligned toward improved care, more efficient delivery, and higher patient satisfaction. As a significant component of health reform, the ACO has many implications for physicians. Physicians interested in joining ACOs have a variety of options, including forming their own, integrating (virtual or otherwise) with larger health systems, or joining multiple, existing ACOs. To succeed, fundamental changes away from the past fee-for-service model will be necessary. Clinical and financial data will become of paramount importance. The data will need to be more accessible, more accurate, and more appropriately used to align with the greater ACO value proposition. Physicians will also need to embrace the “era of persuasion” with its underlying assumption that engaging patients and other physicians are as necessary as a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. As there is a wide array of options in the marketplace, providers must have a clear understanding of patient attribution, financial incentives, and quality metrics within any ACO agreement. Finally, the health-care system must acknowledge the difficulties associated with the pace of change itself and invest in resources to aid in the adaptive reserve of all components of the health-care system.


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