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1 ACO Flinches, Another Launches

JSA Care Partners, a St. Petersburg-based multi-site physician group, was among seven Accountable Care Organizations that are leaving the high-risk “Pioneer” ACO group, federal officialsannounced last week).

ACOs are groups of physicians, hospitals and other health-care providers that band together to assume financial responsibility for patients.  An ACO takes responsibility for the care of an assigned patient and for assuring that the patient gets  not only primary care but also can see specialists when needed. If the patient goes outside the network for care, the ACO takes a financial hit but the patient is not penalized.

Some of those that left the high-risk program shifted to a different kind of ACO financial arrangement that carries less risk, while two dropped out entirely.  It was not made clear which group JSA was in, and Health News Florida could not elicit that information late last week.

But as Medscape reports, the outcome of the ambitious experiment among 32 Pioneers was that it worked, with improved quality and savings of nearly $88 million last year.

More physician groups are interested in getting into the game, including Prime Health partners in Miami, as the Miami Herald reports.   In January, as Health News Florida, reported, 16 Florida groups became ACOs.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.