“Virtual ACOs may be the next big thing for small practices,” says our host Dr. Tom. “I want to talk about how independent practices can lead and not just follow the shift to value-based care.”
Who here has looked at or talked to someone about virtual ACOs?
My guess is that most small practices haven’t really heard about it. Maybe it has to do with most doctors being too busy to consider other innovation. I’ll admit that the idea of a virtual ACO is a new one to me and so I was interested in the discussion that Dr. Tom from Kareo led on virtual ACOs.
The concept of a virtual ACO makes sense. Basically use technology to provide coordinated care across the care system. In fact, that’s what most patients think is already happening with their care, but we know it’s generally not happening. We all know it should and most doctors would embrace the ability to have the right information in the right place so that their patients get the right care. I don’t know anyone who’s against that principle.
However, as was pointed out in the chat linked above, the financial model for a virtual ACO is up in the air. There’s no clear financial model that makes sense. The care model makes sense, but the financial model is a mess.
Dr. Tom did make this assertion in the virtual ACO discussion:
In contrast all the FFS complexities look simple now in comparison to all the VBC options and nuance #kareochat
— Dr. Tom Giannulli (@drtom_kareo) April 7, 2016
Although S. Turner Dean responded with something we’ve talked about quite a few times before:
— S. Turner Dean (@Turbodean) April 7, 2016
I love Dr. Tom’s optimism that this new world of value based reimbursement simplifying things, but I’m not sure it will be any simpler than fee for service. That’s not even taking into account the fact that we have the whole infrastructure set up to handle fee for service and that we know how it works. Set that aside and I’m still not sure that a virtual ACO would be any less complicated than our current fee for service world.
What do you think of the concept of a virtual ACO? Will it simplify medicine? Will it help doctors love their work again? Will it help the independent physician practice survive?
Full Disclosure: Kareo is an advertiser on this blog.