Anesthesiologists as ACO Leaders

As hospitals, Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs), and physician providers formulate the transparent partnerships the new rules require to participate in an ACO, it is important to be reminded that anesthesiologists are integral providers to achieve the goals of this new ACO concept. Anesthesiologists have been critical players in the initial assessment and on-going management of patient’s care throughout the perioperative and obstetrical arenas. In addition, Anesthesiology has been a champion for patient safety and has contributed data to the Anesthesia Quality Institute (AQI), for years.

Recent professional editorials have talked about creating a “surgical home” or an Accountable Anesthesia Organization as concepts where anesthesiologists would lead a team dedicated to the goals of an ACO. A recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association addressed the potential mistakes in implementing ACOs, particularly in failing to recognize interdependencies (

It will be interesting to see the CMS response to the final rules for ACOs when they are made available.

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