A group of physicians in Palm Beach and Broward counties is succeeding where others across the country are failing, keeping their older patients healthy and out of the hospital while reducing the costs to care for them under Medicare, the public health insurance program for Americans 65 and older.
Accountable Care Options, the physician group, reported earning a bonus this year under a pay-for-performance program that rewards doctors and hospitals for meeting certain standards designed to lower costs in the long run by reducing medical complications and trips to the emergency room.
By focusing on intensive management of patients who are at risk for or already suffering with chronic diseases, Accountable Care Options saved more than $9.9 million, or more than $1,500 per patient with original Medicare in 2014, according to the company.
Under the terms of the program, hospitals and doctors form a company known as an accountable care organization that must meet quality and cost standards set by Medicare. The groups are entitled to share in half of the savings they achieve, but only 92 of the 333 such programs across the country received a bonus for 2014.
Since passage of the Affordable Care Act in March 2010, more than 420 Medicare accountable care organizations have been established, providing care for more than 7.8 million Americans with original Medicare as of January.