UnitedHealthcare Partners to Form Large, Multi-System ACO in Wisconsin
In September, 2013, UnitedHealthcare and its collaborators announced plans to create what is planned to be one of the largest accountable care organizations in Wisconsin
As predicted, national health insurance companies are moving deliberately to be part of large accountable care organizations (ACOs). For example, in Wisconsin, three health systems and one of the nation’s largest health insurers are developing a multi-system accountable care organization designed to compete with the largest ACO in the state.
ACOs Expected to Use Medical Laboratory Testing in Different Ways
For pathologists and clinical laboratory executives, this development is a reminder that ACOs will play a significant role in healthcare’s transformation. Also, these super-sized ACOs will have their own influence on the transformation of medical laboratory testing in this country, since ACOs can be expected to use medical laboratory testing in different ways and are unlikely to use fee-for-service as the primary method of payment for laboratory testing.
In September when United Healthcare (UHC) (NYSE: UNH) announced it was collaborating with two health systems to form an ACO in Wisconsin to cover 100,000 patients. A third health system (Ministry Health) joined the new ACO network a week later. UHC efforts are part of a nationwide strategy to double what it spends to provide care in ACOs.
Currently, Minneapolis, Minn.-based UHC spends more than $23 billion annually to pay physicians and hospitals in three types of care delivery: ACOs, centers of excellence, and other performance-based programs. A company spokesperson said the insurer expects to spend $50 billion on such payments by 2017.