The conceptual model for an accountable care organization imagines that care will be rendered to a defined population by an entity that receives bundled payment for that care, coordinates the individual services involved in that care, provides measures of outcomes and quality, and divides the bundled payment among those who supply services. How does this concept differ from earlier efforts, and what, if anything, does it mean for the care of patients with end-stage renal disease? The concept is similar to the largely abandoned integrated delivery networks of the 1990s. The support from Medicare may make a difference, but Medicare's need to constrain spending growth will pose a challenge. Kidney disease care is already much more coordinated than health care for the rest of the population. There are some potential gains from greater coordination, especially with care for comorbid conditions associated with hospitalization. However, economic analysis suggests that the absence of large populations of patients in given geographic sites and the relatively smaller gain from incremental improvements in coordination might mean that the accountable care organization model are not ideal for the dialysis market.
Copyright © 2012 National Kidney Foundation, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.