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No Difference in Outcomes for Patients with Complex Medical Needs Across Medicare ACOs

Accountable care organization (ACO)-reported care management and coordination activities were not associated with improved outcomes among patients who were frail or had multiple chronic conditions, according to an AHRQ-funded study in JAMA Network Open. ACOs give health organizations and providers financial incentives to improve care coordination. Researchers who reviewed survey responses from 244 ACOs with claims data from 1.4 million Medicare patients found patients in the best-performing ACOs for care management and coordination activities did not have different outcomes as measured by hospital readmissions, hospital or emergency department visits, visits for evaluation and management services in outpatient settings, or healthcare spending compared with patients in lower-performing ACOs. Study findings suggest that health organizations should consider the effectiveness of investing heavily in care coordination activities that are difficult to implement, according to researchers.

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