Though Ison concedes there is a very small financial risk from affiliated physicians to support the ACO, in the long run those risks could be substantial through the ACO’s plans to contract with insurers as a single entity.
“The bigger risk is you’re aligning with a single partner in the market more openly than in the past,” he says. “That will lead to some potential retaliation from others in the market who don’t want to see that level of collaboration. Another risk is it fails and you’ve spent a lot of time and effort and risked your reputation. So many people say this can’t be done in a nonintegrated system. We’ve got a long way to go, but so far it’s working pretty smoothly.”