e-CareManagement blog

Chronic Disease Management • Technology • Strategy • Issues and Trends

A 6th Difference Between ACOs and “AC-Like” Arrangements

Last week I wrote about five key differences between formal ACOs (mainly care providers contracting with Medicare)  and informal Accountable Care-Like (AC-Like) arrangements between care providers and commercial health plans.

  1. Transaction costs
  2. Timing
  3. Incrementalism
  4. Flexibility
  5. Capital cost

There’s an important  6th  difference worth noting:



Formal ACOs will be visible from miles away — think elephants on the Serengeti.

An ACO that wants to contract with Medicare must establish itself as a corporation. The Medicare ACO models have substantial disclosure and reporting requirements. We won’t know everything about formal ACOs, but we will know a lot. ACOs cannot hide.


AC-Like arrangements between care providers and commercial payers could be much more difficult to spot and categorize — think chameleons in the jungle.  

These informal AC-Like arrangements can be made through private contracts — therefore not necessarily publicly identifable. Some AC-Like arrangements have been visible and have been announced with press releases and confetti — but it’s also forseeable that there will be circumstances where deals will be quietly negotiated without fanfare.

Chameleons can choose to blend in, or they can change their colors.



What do you think? Leave a comment. Alternatively, write a post on your own weblog; this blog accepts trackbacks. Your "first time" comment will not appear until approved by the moderator. Comments are closed after a post is 90 days old.

Subscribe without commenting

Mentions on other sites...

  1. Perficient Health IT on March 15th, 2012 at 7:42 pm
  2. Vince Kuraitis on March 15th, 2012 at 7:47 pm
  3. Aparna M K on March 16th, 2012 at 12:18 am
  4. Aparna M K on March 16th, 2012 at 12:19 am
  5. Michael Stanton on March 30th, 2012 at 2:45 pm