Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, February 8, 2010

Policymakers can hear about one model for a new health-care system

Accountable care organizations are the subject of a breakfast briefing for Wisconsin legislators, their staff members, policymakers and others interested in health-care policy.

A model of health-care delivery and funding, an accountable care organization holds a group of providers and hospitals responsible for the quality, total spending and health outcomes of a specified population of Medicare beneficiaries. Bonuses and penalties would be tied to overall Medicare spending and quality measures. Proponents of ACOs see them as structures that would move health care away from the traditional fee-for-service payment system to support well-coordinated, high-quality, cost-efficient care.

Policymakers will be briefed on Thursday, February 25, by Dr. Elliott Fisher of Dartmouth Medical School, a leading authority on ACOs. He will discuss the principles and key design features of ACOs, the variety of organizational models, and the challenges and opportunities to implementing ACOs in Wisconsin and nationally.

Regardless of the outcome of federal health reform, Medicare plans to launch pilot projects to demonstrate the potential of alternative models for payment and delivery of health care — including ACOs. Fisher has been closely involved in the development of the pilot protocols.

The briefing is 9 to 10:30 a.m. in room 412 East of the Wisconsin Capitol. The briefing is organized by the Evidence-Based Health Policy Project, a partnership of the University of Wisconsin – Madison's La Follette School of Public Affairs and the Population Health Institute, and the Wisconsin Legislative Council. Project assistant Lilly Shields, a La Follette School student, coordinated many of the details.

Shields tackles complexity of health-care systems, February 16, 2010, La Follette School News