"If the ACO is to improve care then the patient has to be involved," stated Debra Ness who is the president of the National Partnership for Women and Children, an advocacy group. Ness suggested that patients should be involved at the beginning of any ACO development to help design the actual model of care. She would even like to see patient participation in the governance of ACOs.
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Ness notes that there is a lot of talk about patient-centered care but right now the system lacks the full transparency that will build trust among patients. She said patient involvement is lacking at the local level but that at the national level there are very active groups that are helping shape national ACO policies.
2. Employer Engagement
"Employers are interested in raising the healthcare bar," said David Lansky, president and CEO of the Pacific Business Group on Health."They are interested in accountability, performance and transforming care." He said ACOs need to demonstrate their value to employers, who want to see quality data that helps them understand how the providers in the ACO are performing. "They want to know how the ACO will drive healthcare improvement for their employees and how savings will be achieved." Lansky added that employers want greater transparency around community pricing, total cost of care information and internal cost data that gives employers the opportunity to access if ACO cost savings are "being achieved at the expense of payers."