What’s the difference between an ACO, IPA and MSO?

June 5th, 2020 | Published Under Practice Transformation by Jennifer Mensch

Aledade provided this blog post to help CORHIO participants better understand the different value-based care programs. 

Accountable care organizations, independent physician associations, and managed services organizations all offer benefits to primary care providers. But what are the differences and how do they impact participation in value-based care?

As value-based care continues to bring major changes to the healthcare landscape, it can be challenging to keep track of all the different models, programs, and contracting opportunities available to primary care providers.

Over the past few years, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has unleashed a slew of new acronyms to mingle with healthcare’s legendary alphabet soup, leaving many practices uncertain about which programs they’re already participating in, which ones they may be eligible for, and how these initiatives will affect their clinical and financial activities.

For independent family physicians and primary care providers, understanding the difference between three major initiatives – accountable care organizations (ACOs), independent physician associations (IPAs), and managed services organizations (MSOs) – is important for making the most out of the opportunities of value-based care.

These programs and models often overlap, but they offer different benefits and require different types of participation from their members.

Here is what you need to know about how these programs can work to improve the delivery of high-quality, lower cost care.