Accountable Care Organization (ACO

The final written assignment of the semester is a research paper. The topic for the
paper is the new health care quality improvement tool called the Accountable Care
Organization (ACO).
An ACO is the centerpiece of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed
in 2010. The PPACA may be more widely known to you as Obama Care or just the
Affordable Care Act.
The ACO was created by the PPACA as an association of healthcare providers who
come together to manage a number of Medicare beneficiaries’ care to
simultaneously make them healthier and reduce overall health care spending. The
novel part of the idea is that it incentivizes providers to work together by sending a
portion of the savings in spending back to the providers as a reward for the
efficiency.
Your task in this paper is to research the ACO, including its origins, its purpose, its
implementation, and the program’s performance to date. Your paper should
evaluate the ACO in terms of its ability to improve quality of care. Think of the ACO
and the changes it endeavors to make in the delivery of healthcare in the U.S. and
whether it has been or could be successful in the long term.
You should also look at the ACO from the perspective of the Lean Sigma Six
approach. Meaning, if the previous state of health care was a problem, then is the
ACO a viable option for improvement from a Lean Sigma Six approach.
The final paper should not simply be a description of what an ACO is or a recitation
of the various implementing regulations. You should discuss what makes an ACO an
ACO, but you should analyze the organization from the perspective of quality
improvement. Discuss how and why (or why not) you think the ACO has or can be
successful.
As for the format, you should be preparing an APA formatted paper that is 8-10
pages in length. That limit does not include the title and works cited pages.
As stated on the syllabus and the course outline, you will be required to turn in your
research and an annotated outline in the weeks leading to the due date. Each of
these assignments will be worth 10 percent of the final grade on the paper.

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