News & Events

AHA Report Estimates ACO Price Tag (no money for nurses)

Some interesting hard numbers re. what ACOs are going to cost us all. See the Chart of page 2.

AHA (admittedly a biased party) is estimating ACO startup costs. Depending on hospital/system size: in the vicinity of $5-$12 ml Year 1, with ongoing annual costs of $6 to 14 ml annually, for building this “ACO infrastructure”.

The whole ACO concept is the equivalent of someone having a “nurse in the family”. It’s centered around good primary care, i.e., keeping appropriate track of what’s going on with patients, checking up on them, being sure people get preventive care, looking to prevent mishaps when people get transferred (i.e. from home to hospital; from hospital to rehab; from rehab to nursing home)—all those points where because of insufficient staffing, there often is not enough—or any– time to spend on teaching, on verifying that patients and families and the next provider understand what’s going on with a patient. It’s these “transition points” and the lack of primary care, where so many avoidable errors get made or where preventable complications could be headed off.

If you look line by line item at where the AHA is suggesting money should go, you see legal, consulting, databases, registries, record keeping, health information exchanges, whatever that might be. There is one line item of $100,000 for a 5-hospital, 1200 bed system for Patient education and Support (Line 15). One staff person (not even).

This is the path to health reform?

Mary Crotty

AHA Report Estimates ACO Price Tag

Haydn Bush

Caroline Steinberg, Vice President of Health Trends Analysis for the American Hospital Association, discusses a new AHA report that forecasts significant start-up and ongoing costs for hospitals participating in ACOs.

Listen to podcast here

View ACO Costs AHA Report for May 2011 pdf