The Greater Buffalo United Accountable Care Organization, an affiliate of the Greater Buffalo United Independent Practice Association, was authorized by the state Department of Health last month as the state’s first Accountable Care Organization, a model that pays groups of providers to work together to reduce costs and increase health care outcomes.
How ACOs work
- Local health care providers and hospitals volunteer to work together to provide you with coordinated care.
- The doctors and other providers who are helping care for you will communicate with each other, and partner with you in making health care decisions.
- You may spend less time filling out medical history paper work because your doctors may already have this information in an electronic health record.
- You’ll likely have fewer repeated medical tests because your doctors and hospitals will share information and coordinate your care.
- You’ll be in the center of care, and your doctors will be better able to keep you informed, and to keep listening and honoring your choices.
Unlike HMOs, managed care, or some insurance plans, an ACO can’t tell you which health care providers to see and can’t change your Medicare or private insurance benefits.
How ACOs share information
- Your doctors use data from Medicaid and private insurers to help improve how they provide care. For example, your doctors will get your medical information from Medicaid and insurers to help them to know your medical history, including your medical conditions, prescriptions, and visits to the doctor, and give you the right care at the right time in the right setting.
- Doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers working together in an ACO are able to read your medical records, along with other office staff authorized to help coordinate your care.
The privacy and security of your medical information is protected by federal law.
The group ultimately will receive financial incentives for reducing unnecessary emergency room visits and duplicative costs for Medicaid and private insurance patients in the same way that federal ACO programs works..
The GBUACO will include 140 Buffalo-area providers, including physician providers at the Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network. The program will accept both ACO and commercial payment models.
Dr. Raul Vazquez, CEO of both organizations, said the system allows providers greater flexibility to manage patient care while avoiding anti-trust restrictions on self-referrals and collaboration.