A recent visit to the google analytics trends website shows that searches for ACO information has grown to its highest point in 2013. Don’t get too excited though. It appears that the ACO search in and of itself is not as big of trend when you take out the confounding data that includes a search for ACO Hardware a Michigan hardware store chain. Dont dismiss the trend though, searches for ACO are the highest since early 2011 when they were announced

Whether physicians and the practice managers are doing their research though is another question. An AMEDNEWS.com report shows that there are three times the number of ACO groups that there were seven months ago. When approaching the ACO decision process, make sure that you understand the players, the motivation and the risks and rewards of choosing an ACO to partner with.

We recently entertained an offer from a national ACO who stated that they had numerous physician clients around the country. When asked for a proforma, we were assured that this information was readily available and the distribution formula was equitable. When a physician looks at “equitable” and if they are saddled with directing care for populations, it is good to question why the hospital system is getting more money than the physicians. A nice dinner and a slick presentation from a consultant, even if it is another physician, is not a sound basis for making your decision

Keep asking questions, do a little research. No one is an expert in ACO’s yet. It will be interesting to see who is getting rich off of these entities, is it the doctors, hospitals, or the consultants who know how to slice the data and take a piece just for telling everyone else how to pick up more work.