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ACOs are 'works in progress'.

Results of the latest analysis show encouraging trend in lowering costs for beneficiaries who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid programs. That group is critical because they account for more than $300 billion in annual costs and 40% of state Medicaid expenditures.

The variation among the pilot sites offers hope for continual learning about best practices and possibly improved results as physicians and researchers learn what works.

While the ACO model holds a lot of promise, it is not the only option reforming the way care is delivered. The model deserves energy, investment, discipline, and good faith; they can help. But, whether federal officials are encouraged or discouraged by the PGPD experience, a lot more innovations than ACOs alone will be needed to emerge successfully from this fraught time.

DONALD M. BERWICK, M.D., is a former CMS administrator and former president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. His remarks were made in an editorial accompanying the study by Dartmouth researchers (JAMA 2012;308:1038-9 [doi: 10.1001/2012.jama.11486]). He reported no financial disclosures.
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Title Annotation:VIEW ON THE NEWS
Author:Berwick, Donald M.
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Date:Sep 15, 2012
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