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Does 'ACO' Stand for 'A Cash-flow Obstacle'?

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To understand the fiscal yin and yang of what it's like to embrace accountable care payment models, compare and contrast Westmed Medical Group with Barnabas Health. The former, a 260-plus multi-specialty group practice in Purchase, N.Y., received a nearly $1 million bonus under a commercial ACO agreement it signed in Jan. 2012 with UnitedHealthcare-which rewarded the group for upholding various quality metrics-in mid-November last year. "We have shown great progress in managing diabetes care," says Medical Director Barney Newman, M.D., who monitors financial performance through regular meetings with the payer to review its data analytics.

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Unlike some other major industries, health care incorporates geospatial data only sparingly. But that could change quickly with population health a priority.

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