by David Sheon, WHITECOAT Strategies
What a week since CMS launched its regulations on ACOs.
The complexity of the rules offered little help to journalists seeking to explain the implications to readers.  CMS tried its best to help by providing fact sheets for providers as well as for consumers.  And while most journalists writing on deadline were compelled to stick to the summary offered by CMS, a few reporters from major news outlets ventured into analysis.  Kudos to Ezra Klein at The Washington Post, for alerting readers to “the most important health-care reform story people aren’t talking about,” and Robert Pear at The New York Times, for taking the time to explain ACO with creativity, comparing the public’s ability to grasp the new model to discovering that unicorns really do exist.
ACOs are destined to become better known by the public – and soon.  The distribution of the CMS regulations launched hundreds of news stories introducing the concept to millions of workers in the healthcare space as well as consumers.
Stories are also emerging on how ACOs will result in patient centered care, with better preventive medicine and lower costs.  Tip of the hat to Luis Fabregas at the Pittsburgh Tribune Review for a well-informed piece.
The uncertainty over what ACOs will do to healthcare delivery is driving considerable interest. Accountable Care Forum had over 370 unique visitors in its first week.  Squire Sanders’ lawyers presented during a webinar Friday, co-sponsored with Strategic Health Care.  Called “ACO Regulation Review and Application Preparation,” the event had over 200 participants, almost all of whom were hospital executives.
Slides from the webinar are archived for those still looking to get started panning for gems.