Health Care Reform Pays Off: ACO = Extra Profits

Beyond the overheated rhetoric about current health care reforms, the bottom line is starting to be added up. For at least one medical group that has chosen an accountable care organization model, the results are in: $2.9 million in bonus profits. That’s the sum gained by Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, MO, which opted for a risky, but potentially more lucrative option under a Medicare ACO called the Shared Savings Program. In its inaugural year, the program offered no guarantees, but in exchange for risking losses, Heartland could earn larger rewards. Its first annual bonus totals nearly $3 million, 60 percent of what the hospital’s quality and cost-control strategies saved Medicare. It’s an example that all health care organizations could study—with profit.

John Howell, Editorial Director