Coordinating Your Care
Your doctors try hard to give you high quality care, but it can be a challenge to juggle information. Medicare wants to ensure that all doctors have the resources and information they need to coordinate your care.
The goal of coordinated care is to make sure that patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors. You’ll benefit when your doctor, health care provider, or hospital coordinate your care, because they will be working together to give you the right care at the right time in the right setting.
Medicare’s coordinated care programs include:
- Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs)
- Comprehensive Primary Care initiative
You can always see any doctor or healthcare provider that takes Medicare.
If your doctor participates in these programs, you can see still see any doctor or health care provider who accepts Medicare. Nobody—not your doctor, not anyone—can tell you who you have to see. Your Medicare benefits will also stay the same.
Accountable Care Organizations
Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are one way to better coordinate your care. If your doctor has decided to participate in an ACO and you have Original Medicare, you’ll be notified, either in person or by letter.
How ACOs Work
- Local health care providers and hospitals volunteer to work together to provide you with coordinated care.
- The doctors and other providers who are helping care for you will communicate with each other, and partner with you in making health care decisions.
- You may spend less time filling out medical history paper work because your doctors may already have this information in an electronic health record.
- You’ll likely have fewer repeated medical tests because your doctors and hospitals will share information and coordinate your care.
- You’ll be in the center of care, and your doctors will be better able to keep you informed, and to keep listening and honoring your choices.
- Unlike HMOs, managed care, or some insurance plans, an ACO can’t tell you which health care providers to see and can’t change your Medicare benefits. Only people with Original Medicare can be assigned to an ACO. You can’t be assigned to an ACO if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C), like an HMO or a PPO.
How ACOs Share Information
Your doctors use data from Medicare to help improve how they provide care. For example, your doctors will get your medical information from Medicare to help them to know your medical history, including your medical conditions, prescriptions, and visits to the doctor, and give you the right care at the right time in the right setting.
Doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers working together in an ACO are able to read your medical records, along with other office staff authorized to help coordinate your care.
The privacy and security of your medical information is protected by federal law. You’ll continue to get the same rightsenjoyed by all people with Medicare.If you have questions or you aren’t sure if your doctor is in a Medicare ACO, ask them.