The Obama administration has come out with a new approach to medical care that it says could mean higher quality care for patients, while also saving money for taxpayers and employers. The new idea involves something called accountable care organizations, which are networks of hospitals, doctors, rehabilitation centers and other providers. They work together to cut out duplicative tests and procedures, and focus on keeping patients healthier and out of the emergency room.
Proposed rules released Thursday explain how the networks will operate in Medicare. Unlike some managed care plans, patients will not be locked into the networks.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius estimates a potential savings to Medicare of as much as $960 million over three years.