ACO Advisory Councils – More Than Just Meeting the Requirements

By Rudman Winchell Attorney

The following is a blog from Rudman Winchell’s affiliate, Starboard Leadership Consulting:

ACO Advisory Councils – More Than Just Meeting the Requirements

April 26, 2011 by Starboard Leadership Consulting

One of the outcomes of the recent federal healthcare legislation is the development of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). An ACO is a local health care organization (often a health care system) and a related set of physicians, specialists and hospitals that are held accountable for the cost and quality of care delivered to a defined population. In short, an ACO brings doctors, nurses, hospitals and other providers together to share responsibility for keeping patients healthy and improving cost, quality, and patient satisfaction.

Central to the ACO model is the commitment to patient engagement and “patient-centeredness.” More than just lip service, the ACO model is designed to include meaningful engagement by patients in minimizing barriers, monitoring service delivery, ensuring timely and appropriate care, and evaluating practice design.

An organization that wants to qualify as an ACO must satisfy an eight part definition of patient-centeredness, including having a Medicare beneficiary sitting on the board of the ACO.

One of the steps that those who are developing ACOs are taking is to build into their models a “patient advisory council.” The goal here is to move beyond patient surveys and assessments and, instead, develop a more formal vehicle for engaging patients in the actual design and delivery of their care.

On the surface, developing a patient advisory council may sound pretty simple, but it’s not. Real patient engagement will not be achieved by pulling together a group of citizens four times a year for lunch and a power point presentation.

Take it from us, done wrong, an advisory council will not only be ineffective, it can become a real nightmare. In the Starboard Blog entries that follow this one, we will describe the steps to take in order to avoid those nightmare experiences and actually develop a patient advisory council (or an advisory council of any sort) that will have tremendous value for you and your organization and that will also provide the participants with a meaningful and satisfying experience.–-more-than-just-meeting-the-requirements.html


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