Business Group Blog

How to Choose an ACO: Tools for Employers




Accountable care organizations (ACOs) are being considered as one the key strategies in the next frontier of efforts to improve health care delivery and control health benefit costs. Roughly one in four large employers plan to pursue an ACO strategy in 2017 and that number is expected to grow in the coming years. However, employers have many questions about how ACOs deliver value better than the network models they offer today. To help employers better understand and evaluate ACOs in their markets, two groundbreaking tools have been released by the National Business Group on Health.

For more background on the subject, read our previous ACO post, Is an ACO Right for Your Company?


ACO Journey Map

The ACO Journey Map is a tool to help employers assess six critical competencies of an ACO along a development path. It provides employers with a framework to set reasonable expectations of an ACO’s performance—for those ACOs that are just launching to those with a sustained record of success–and better understand an ACO’s readiness for employer deployment.


ACO Scoring Guide

The ACO Scoring Guide contains definitions of each ACO competency and detailed instructions for completing the ACO Journey Map.  It ensures all stakeholders use a consistent process for assessing an ACO.

The ACO Journey Map and ACO Scoring Guide are available free of charge to all interested employers and other stakeholders.


ACO Toolkit

National Business Group on Health members can access additional resources in the ACO Toolkit: A Road Map for Employers. The toolkit provides a complete road map for implementing an ACO strategy, from assessing market opportunities, understanding ACO readiness, considering plan design options, improving employee engagement and evaluating ACO performance. 


ACO Toolkit: A Roadmap for Employers Step 3