As an associate clinical professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Dr. Coppola was involved in an ACO for five years. “It was not unusual for an ACO to look at otitis media in the pediatric population and gather a panel of pediatricians, primary care providers, and otolaryngologists to come up with a consensus agreement as to how that organization will deal with guidelines for otitis,” he said. For instance, would it require antibiotics, or would the patient require an ear, nose, and throat evaluation?
Explore This IssueOctober 2014
“But, in many communities, this hasn’t happened yet,” Dr. Coppola added. “In most of the United States, ACOs are still in the very early planning stages. In the future, short of a one-payer system, I think this model will show that if we give financial responsibility to the caregivers, we will wind up having a better healthcare delivery system for providers and patients.”
The bottom line, said Dr. Nielsen, is that otolaryngologists are not homogeneous. “Just because an ACO is not a feasible option for me doesn’t mean it isn’t a great option for another. Plus, at this point, there isn’t enough feedback about specialty care within ACOs to determine the impact.”
Karen Appold is a freelance medical writer based in Pennsylvania.