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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

ACOs, Medical Homes and Future of PT Practice

Published June 11, 2012 9:47 AM by Danielle Bullen
Tampa--In the session, "ACOs, Medical Homes and Future of PT Practice," on Saturday, June 8, panelists discussed how physical therapy could fit into these new models of care. This roundtable session was truly a group effort. Roshunda Drummond-Dye. JD and Gillian Russell, JD brought the legal perspective, and Linda Arslanian, PT, DPT, MS, Anthony Delitto, PT, PhD, FAPTA, Craig Johnson, PT, MBA, Carolyn Oddo, PT, MS, FACHE, and Jason Richardson, PT, DPT, OCS brought the clinical perspective.

So, what exactly is an Affordable Care Organization (ACO)? It's a network of physicians, hospitals and providers who are incentivized to cooperate to provide quality care and lower costs.  The current model, the speakers explained, separates different parts of health care into silos, while the new model wants to provide unified care. The idea for ACOs came out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which called for the creation of a shared savings program.

Medical homes are a lesser-known concept that also came out of the ACA. A medical home is person-centered health facility, mainly serving Medicaid-eligible patients with chronic conditions, that focuses on improved outcomes for patients and better values for Medicaid. Medical homes center around inter-disciplinary care. Clinicians, which can include physical therapists, apply for grants to form community-based health care teams supporting primary care physicians. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation will provide up to $1 billion in grants to providers who come up with innovative ways to deliver better health care and lower costs.

So, what does this mean for physical therapists? The panelists outlined some of the potential outcomes and offered advice. Currently, ACOs are voluntary, so physical therapists can operate outside of them. PTs also have the option of contracting with more than one ACO. Under the ACO model, collecting outcomes data, a theme that ran through several sessions at PT 2012, becomes even more important. With medical homes, physical therapists are not specifically named under the ACA rule that created them; however they can partner with their state's Medicaid program to participate.

This informative session certainly left the audience with plenty to think about regarding new ways to provide care.

1 comments

Interesting post. I have been wondering about this issue,so thanks for posting.

Hosneara begum August 9, 2012 10:26 PM

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