ACOs: Work within an integrated network

Q. How can HME providers help ACOs function more effectively in emergency circumstances?
Friday, December 28, 2012

A. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, healthcare news was flooded with stories of HME providers tirelessly caring for their patients during the storm. HME providers kept their patients out of emergency rooms and safe at home—an invaluable service for the patients and the healthcare community at large. As we reflect on the triumphs of the HME providers, we are in the midst of growing ACO coverage and it seems that HME emergency effectiveness can only improve with the participation in ACOs.  

ACOs have three simple goals: improve the experience of health care, improve patient health and reduce costs. The key element of implementing ACO goals is an integrated healthcare system. Patient information can be stored and shared electronically between providers in the same ACO network when they are treating the same patients. 

HME providers working within the ACO integrated network will have immediate access to patient information. Those providers will be able to prepare for storms by mapping out delivery routes for the ACO’s HME patients. Providers will be able to collaborate with their ACO hospitals and physicians for supplies. Being prepared to use coordinated services in an emergency increases the effectiveness and efficiency of the services provided.

When Hurricane Sandy touched down, HME providers prepared to weather the storm, but disconnected providers can only be so efficient. An integrated network has the ability to be prepared, effective and efficient in providing HME and medical care during emergencies.

Carla Hogan is an attorney with Tuczinski, Cavalier, Gilchrist & Collura, P.C. She can be reached at 518.463.3990 or