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Health care reform: Accountable care organizations

Starting in 2012, groups of doctors that work together to coordinate care for patients can share in some of the savings from improving care and cutting costs.

The new model for providing care is called an Accountable Care Organization. Under the health care reform law, various groups of providers can come together to form these organizations and earn financial rewards from Medicare for cutting costs for certain groups of patients.

The idea is to improve coordination and efficiency so patients get the care they need and the system saves money. Ideally, patients will have a reduction in disease complications, hospital visits and redundant medical services.

Exactly how the model will work, though, remains vague. Federal regulators are still hammering out specifics.

Back to the health care reform timeline.

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