ACO Update Print
Written by Michael Casanova   
Thursday, 24 February 2011 10:09

I had mentioned in my most recent article (see ACO's A Viable Concept? By Michael Casanova Click here to view original article), according to the New York Times, the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission are butting heads over which agency should get to enforce antitrust laws that affect the formation of ACOs .  The NYT reports the revelation was based on letters procured by the Times and written by J. Thomas Rosch, a Republican member of the Federal Trade Commission. He sent the letters to the White House and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

This debate could further delay the formation of ACOs, as long as what's legal remains up in the air.  Which agency will ultimately police ACOs will most definitely affect how hard it will be to develop ACOs. It could have a significant impact on whether ACOs live up to their expectations as organizations that will improve cost efficiency while improving patient outcomes. Pundits have expressed concerns that if not properly regulated, ACOs could become monopolies.  That would lead to unintended, negative consequences.  The chief fear is that ACOs could accelerate rather than control healthcare costs.