Chilmark Research Vendors released a March 2017 study assessing Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model growth and evolution. The study, titled Reducing the Risk: Vendors Enabling the ACO, examined two ACO options – ACOs who “own their own development process” and ACOs who outsource development to a third-party vendor, also known as “ACO Enablers” (p. 8). Enablers were defined as “providing services encompassing end-to-end solutions for payer-agnostic value-based administration, including project management, readiness assessments, program infrastructure, services, consulting and required technology support” (p. 8). Caravan Health, along with nine additional vendors, were included as ACO Enablers in the comprehensive study.

With no standard guide to success, embarking in an ACO model alone can be a complicated and high-risk endeavor. With those complexities in mind, the study found that ACO Enablers provided significant advantages to the ACO market. Chilmark noted that vendors’ combination of services, business processes and technologies enabled more rapid (ACO) execution. “ACO Enablers exist to relieve the burden for HCOs (Health Care Organizations) and increase the likelihood of achieving financial success” (p. 19).

Amongst the vendor profiles, Caravan Health differentiated itself from other ACO Enablers “due to both its unique market segment and its underlying business model” (p. 28). A few poignant takeaways included:

  • Geography – Caravan Health aggregates providers from across state lines to reach the minimum required volume of Medicare patients within the MSSP program.
  • Non-EHR (Electronic Health Record) Utilization – Underneath Caravan Health, participating providers do not need to be on an EHR. “Patient relationship and care management are seen as more critical tools in the toolkit than an EHR for rural providers to achieve PHM (Population Health Management) success.”
  • Beyond the ACO Model – Caravan Health covers more than just ACOs. We also offer guidance with MIPS and Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+).

The study concluded that ACO growth will steadily increase and ACO Enablers will continue to have a strong, support position in the transformation to value-based payment models. The study’s author, Jennifer Rogers stated, “…the market is rapidly changing and these vendors are changing with it…We will be watching this vendor niche for increased speed to value as they build upon learning from the last five years to launch future waves of ACOs” (p. 41).

More information about the Chilmark study can be found at http://www.chilmarkresearch.com/chilmark_report/vendors-enabling-the-aco/.

 

References

Rogers, By Jennifer. “Reducing the Risk: Vendors Enabling the ACO.” Chilmark Research. Chilmark Research, Mar. 2017.