Accountable Care Organizations

What is an Accountable Care Organization (ACO)?

An ACO is a provider-based organization that takes responsibility for meeting the health care needs of a defined population with the goal of simultaneously improving health, improving patient experiences and reducing costs. An ACO must have a strong primary care foundation and also may integrate other specialists, hospitals, nursing homes, etc. to promote a high degree of care coordination. The following arrangements of providers and services are eligible to participate as ACOs: ACO professionals in group practices, networks of individual practices of ACO professionals, partnerships or joint ventures between hospitals and ACO professionals, and hospitals employing ACO professionals.

More questions about accountable care? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions about Accountable Care Organizations.

Accountable Care Organizations in North Carolina

North Carolina has 30 MSSP and NextGen ACOs and at least 11 ACOs have contracts with commercial payers (about 5 overlap with MSSP*). Download these helpful maps to locate ACOs that provide service in North Carolina:

How can you learn more about ACOs?

The North Carolina Medical Society was pleased to help found the Toward Accountable Care Consortium (TAC), a collaboration of 42 medical society and health care organization members, which worked together to create educational resources for health care providers interested in developing their own ACOs. Through grants provided by the Physicians Foundation, TAC developed more than 30 toolkits with both general and specialty-specific guidelines to assist in the formation of these value-driven models of care. Learn more about these toolkits and download your relevant guides for free.

In addition, TAC helped to form the NC Population Health Collaborative, comprised of representatives of existing NC ACOs and aspiring ACOs participants and partners. The Collaborative provides an opportunity for emerging and developing ACOs to share experiences and ideas about transitioning to accountable, value-driven, health care delivery systems, and to identify and discuss possible solutions for facilitating that transition. The NC Pop Health Collaborative meets twice a year, and you are welcome to attend any of these informative sessions.

In addition, the NCMS helped establish the NC ACO Council, which is comprised of representatives of Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) ACOs. The Council provides a forum for North Carolina MSSP ACOs that allows for more robust discussion and sharing of experiences, opportunities and challenges. The Council meets 2 times a year. For more information, please contact Kristen Spaduzzi.

NCIOM Report on Healthy North Carolina 2030: A Path Toward Health

From NC DHHS: Healthy people and healthy communities are the foundation of a thriving, prosperous state, and improving the health, safety, and well-being of North Carolinians is a core part of the work of state government. In parallel with the national Healthy People initiative run by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) has released Healthy North Carolina (HNC) goals at the beginning of each decade since 1990. HNC is a set of health indicators with 10-year targets designed to guide state efforts to improve health and wellbeing. Identifying key indicators and targets allows NC DHHS, the Division of Public Health (DPH), local health departments, and other partners across the state to work together toward shared goals.

Read the complete executive summary…. (pdf; 4 pages)

View the Full Report (pdf; 65 pages)