"Increasingly, providers understand how important the things that happen outside of the doctor's office or hospital are to improving and managing a person's health," said Andrea Ducas, program officer at RWJF. "To that end, some leading ACOs are expanding their services to include more upstream, preventive support for patients and are also expanding their work to reach entire communities, rather than just focusing on their assigned beneficiaries.""What can get lost in discussions is the impact of the social determinants of health on how well ACOs perform," said Joe Damore, vice president of population health management at Premier. "This analysis reveals real-world efforts underway when it comes to the importance of community partnerships to influence health outcomes and performance. We're seeing our members collaborate with organizations like Meals on Wheels to improve the health of their populations." However, there are different levels of maturity among ACOs. Some are struggling with financial pressures and payer requirements related to the specific populations for which they are accountable. Only 32 percent of respondents reported that their communities had adequate resources to meet the challenge of improving community health. Limitations include, inadequate funding for staffing and services, data interoperability challenges, physicians operating under the fee-for-service model, and payer pressures. "These limitations have obvious implications for healthcare policy and restrictive reimbursement frameworks, including providing the resources and funding to address the basic clinical, social, and psychological needs of patients," continued Dr. Lowe. Researchers also identified three ways ACOs are engaging to meet the ongoing and future challenges of population health and value-based payment models:
- Improving information and best practice sharing with other ACOs.
- Developing a framework for implementing population health improvement activities based on level of maturity and access to required community resources.
- Enhancing dialogue between providers, regulators and funders to set priorities for services development and future research foci.
Most of the ACOs studied are participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) and a commercial ACO or shared savings program. Half of the Medicare ACOs in Premier's Population Health Management Collaborative qualified for shared savings payments in performance year 2015.About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has worked to improve health and health care. RWJF is working with others to build a national Culture of Health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook. About Premier Inc. Premier Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC) is a leading healthcare improvement company, uniting an alliance of approximately 3,750 U.S. hospitals and more than 130,000 other provider organizations. With integrated data and analytics, collaboratives, supply chain solutions, and advisory and other services, Premier enables better care and outcomes at a lower cost. Premier, a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient, plays a critical role in the rapidly evolving healthcare industry, collaborating with members to co-develop long-term innovations that reinvent and improve the way care is delivered to patients nationwide. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Premier is passionate about transforming American healthcare. Please visit Premier's news and investor sites on www.premierinc.com; as well as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Premier's blog for more information about the company.