How to make the most of ACOs and value-based care

August 7, 2013

Value-based care is an emerging trend that will help shape how you practice eye care in the future. But are you prepared to find your place in the new world of value-oriented, integrated care systems?

Medicare is rapidly moving to establish a new system of accountable care organizations (ACO). Both public and private health plans are embracing the new value-based integrated care models such as ACOs and patient-centered medical home (PCMH) networks.

With these trends in mind, the AOA Third Party Center recently unveiled two resources to help you prepare: the Optometrists’ Guide for ACO Participation and the online ACO Resource Toolkit.

“The AOA Optometrists’ Guide for ACO Participation is a first-of-its kind practical implementation and execution guide for optometrists who are interested in participating in ACOs or other types of integrated health systems,” says Stephen Montaquila, O.D., chair of the center’s executive committee.

The toolkit was formally introduced on June 26, 2013, during President’s Council at Optometry’s Meeting®.

What the guide and toolkit provide

Developed by key volunteers from the Third Party and Federal Relations committees, the guide starts with the basics. It outlines the structure and function of ACOs, the role optometrists can play, and a strategy for securing participation in an ACO network.

In addition, the online ACO toolkit provides a complete range of resources optometrists can use to develop a thorough understanding of ACOs, identify and approach ACO networks, and be included to provide a full scope of eye and vision care to ACO patients.

The toolkit includes:

  • The Optometrists’ Guide for ACO Participation
  • Selected articles to provide necessary background on ACOs and other value-oriented health systems
  • Direct links to the websites of major ACO-related organizations
  • Direct links to major ACO industry publications and other ACO resource materials
  • A complete list of existing Medicare-sanctioned ACOs (with key contact persons when available)
  • Examples of “best-practice” ACO models that properly include and involve optometrists
  • Presentation support resources such as PowerPoint slides and/or short videos for use in meetings with ACO administrators.
  • Information on AOAExcel’s X Network, now under development to provide optometrists the electronic health records (EHR) connectivity required for participation in integrated care networks
  • Information on a new AOA Third Party Center Access Resource Team, now being established to assist optometrists with local advocacy efforts for inclusion in integrated health networks.

“The AOA has made the elimination of barriers to OD participation in accountable care organizations a top priority,” said Dr. Montaquila. “I urge all AOA members to review the new guide and then consider approaching, engaging and joining these emerging care systems.”

AOA members can access the association’s ACO Resource Toolkit, including its Optometrists’ Guide for ACO Participation, at www.aoa.org/x16106.xml by entering their member number and password.

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