What to Know About ACOs: An Introduction to MassHealth Accountable Care Organizations

Thursday, July 26, 2018
Publication cover image
Robert W. Seifert, MPA
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Kelly Love, JD
University of Massachusetts Medical School

This brief, compiled by experts from our Center for Health Law and Economics, goes over the basics of MassHealth's introduction of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). It includes a brief introduction of what an ACO is, the three distinct types of ACOs, who they serve, the services they provide and how they can improve care and contain costs. It also includes a list of resources for readers interested in learning more about this new approach to healthcare payment. 

MassHealth's introduction of ACOs began in March 2018 and signaled a significant shift away from the way MassHealth previously partnered with health care providers. ACOs contract with MassHealth to deliver different types of health care, addiction treatment and long term services and supports to a set group of MassHealth members. Community Partners support ACOs with behavioral health and LTSS care management expertise and also facilitate access to community-based services for members. One of the unique advantages to ACOs is many are able to offer certain nonmedical services that are associated with better health outcomes, including housing supports and nutritional programs. 

Read the Oct. 1, 2018 issue of Health Affairs GrantWatch, which highlights this brief in a post entitled, Foundation Funding To Research And Improve Medicaid.