Frequently Asked Questions
Patients and Providers
Does this ACO program require me to change my physician?
Absolutely Not - if your doctor participates in an ACO, you can see any healthcare provider who accepts Medicare. Nobody - not your doctor, not your hospital - can tell you who you have to see.
How do I know if my doctor is in an ACO?
If your doctor is in an ACO, you will receive a letter with further information/instructions. You may also click to view a list of ACO health care participants.
Services and Impact to Patients
What should I expect if my doctor is in an ACO?
Over time, if you see a doctor participating in an ACO, you may notice that:
- The health care providers that you see all know what is going on with your health because they communicate with each other; You don't have to have the same medical tests done over and over because your results are shared among your health care team; The providers participating in the ACO will become partners with you in making care decisions.
- Some ACOs may hire people to help check on your care. They may call you after an appointment or a procedure to make sure you understand how to take your medicines or schedule follow-up visits. They will also share information with your doctor to make sure you get the right care.
What will not change because my doctor is part of an ACO?
What you pay, your benefits, or the cost of your coverage should not increase; your right to choose any hospital or doctor that accepts Medicare, at any time, will not change even if that hospital or doctor is not part of an ACO.
How will an ACO lead to better care for me?
When your health care providers have access to your health information and are able to share that information with one another, they can give you better, more coordinated care. Each of your health care providers will not only know about the health issues that they have treated, they will have a more complete picture of your health through communicating with your other health care providers.
If your health care providers are participating in an ACO, over time, you should see better more coordinated health care where you are the center of care and your satisfaction is a goal of the ACO.
Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs)
Is an ACO a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), managed care or an insurance company?
No. An ACO is a group of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers who work together to provide you with better, more coordinated care. Doctors and hospitals in an ACO communicate with you and with each other to make sure that you get the care you need when you are sick, and the support you need to stay healthy and well.
An ACO isn't an HMO, managed care or insurance company. 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 benefits.
Patient Information and Privacy
The letter I received (will receive) said that my medical information would be shared with providers. Who can read my medical information? And will it be protected?
The group of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers working together in the ACO will be 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. Call (800) MEDICARE (800 633-4227) 24 hours a day/7 days a week. TTY users should call (877) 486-2048.
Can I choose not to share my medical information?
Your privacy is very important to us, so you may choose to have your name and other personal information removed from the information that Medicare shares with your doctor.
Where can I find more information about ACOs and UnityPoint Accountable Care, L.C.'s participation in the program?
For more information about ACOs, you can refer to the following resources:
What follow-up will I be receiving from this program?
Starting in 2013, Medicare will also be following up with people with Medicare to ask about your experiences as a patient of a doctor who is participating in a Medicare ACO. As time gets closer, you will get a letter to let you know the survey is genuine. Medicare will use your feedback to help make sure you get high quality care.
Who do I contact about becoming part of your ACO?
You can contact our corporate office by calling (515) 241-3767 or by reaching out to your local OSC Director (Organized System of Care). Click to view a regional roster.