Response to Health Affairs article on ACOs and Disparities

NAACOS analytics consultants, Dobson and DaVanzo, responded to a recent Health Affairs article, ACOs Serving High Proportions of Racial and Ethnic Minorities Lag in Quality Performance.”  In the original article, the authors looked at quality performance for ACOs with a higher proportion of minority patients and found that those ACOs had performed worse on 76 percent of the quality measures compared to other ACOs. The authors suggest that ACOs with higher proportions of minority patients may struggle with quality performance and encourages policy makers to refine and support ACO programs to serve minority patients.

In the response by Dobson and DaVanzo, which was based on feedback from NAACOS and new analysis, they found that high-minority ACOs did have lower quality performance in 2014 compared to other ACOs; however, in 2015 both groups had the same average quality performance score. Even more, high-minority ACOs had a higher number of ACOs who earned shared savings in both 2014 and 2015. This finding suggests that ACOs with higher proportions of minorities are investing in patient care improvement, thinking positively about taking on risk, making gains in quality, and earning shared savings at higher rates than other ACOs. The original authors reply to the response can be seen here.

Addressing disparities in care is a critical issue in our healthcare system, and NAACOS believes ACOs are uniquely designed and equipped to reduce disparities through delivering high-quality, affordable care for all community members. NAACOS is proud to advocate on policies that support ACOs in delivering high-quality care, which serve all ACOs including those treating a high proportion of minority patients.