The 2010 health-care law encourages the development of accountable-care organizations (ACO) as a way to improve care and reduce costs.

So what exactly are accountable-care organizations, anyway?

In broad outline, these entities propose to unite doctors and clinics or hospitals in groups that pool their resources with the goal of trimming spending while boosting the quality of care. When the group can show that it is improving care and delivers it for less than the cost projected—arrived at by crunching historical patient data for that market—a share of the savings goes to the hospitals and the teams.

Medicare defines payment to organization that agrees to be accountable for the quality, cost and overall care.

Hospital executives have expressed that by building ACO it is the key to better managing patient care across the continuum. Patient centric care is the key to:

· building  strong relationships with physicians

· draw in physicians that are patient centric and positive outcomes

Overall focus

· physician lead

· patient centric

· patient participation

· keep patient healthy

· fewer admissions into hospital

· shorter length of stay

· more preventive and proactive solutions

Major needs:

1. Teamwork among all members

2. Clear leadership

3. Accountability

4. technology to coordinate patient care,

5. better communication and transparency

How can foodservice leadership make a positive impact on ACO and be a major part of the team?

  • Open your lines of clear communication with physicians, c-suite level in terms of what you are doing, how you are making a difference, etc…
  • Customer focused in terms of healthy options, food choices, more sustainable foods, local foods, healthy preparation techniques, culture diverse food that appeals to their customer
  • Value based purchasing
  • Actionable initiatives to more effective supply chain/revenue cycle approaches(many of your distributors and/or GPOs can partner with you on this)

Some good resources for understanding ACOs and creative ways to implement initiatives at or hospitals: Creating a culture of health,,

In today’s environment of health reform, with so many challenges and opportunities before us, the stakes have never been greater for our patients, organizations and communities. Consequently, having an ethical foundation for leadership and decision-making is more important than ever.
If you do not change your patient experience, you will not be reimbursed for Medicare/Medicaid. It is all about the outcomes on patients and not about the process and payments.

How do you own the customer experience? What ways can you start implementing to be proactive and make a difference in your department?



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