First of all let me say that NONE of us are going to figure out the Medicare ACO puzzle alone - we'll each other to share knowledge, network and learn best practices for improving population health.
This is uncharted territory. We're used to treating patients, not populations of (healthy?) people.
Some of the early ACO resources I used are listed here:
The APTA Private Practice Section has two excellent webinars that are available as a free member benefit to PPS members. Go to the APTA Private Practice section website here.
...and click "Health Care Reform" - you will be asked for your APTA-PPS member log-in.
For non-members, the APTA has publicly posted its comments on the Medicare Shared Savings Program.
The APTA is advocating on behalf all practice settings and I was pleased that the ACO Comments addressed concerns of Private Practice Physical Therapists. Particularly, I noticed that the APTA urged CMs to...
"...waive uneccesary and inconsistent Medicare regulations for ACOs including, but not limited to... the requirement for physician signature/certification of the Plan of Care for physical therapy." (page 10)Finally, a resource that I found helpful was the Dept. Health and Human Services/Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services 10-page primer
Improving Quality of Care for Medicare Patients: Accountable Care Organizations.
Particularly pay attention to the 65 Quality Measures ACOs must meet in order to participate in shared savings - this is where I believe the physical therapist and the physical therapist assistant have the opportunity to shine.
I counted at least 7 of the 65 Quality Measures that are part of the PT/PTA
scope of practice that could improve quality at low cost.
If physical therapists get Direct Access the number of Quality Measures PT/PTAs could impact could rise substantially.