A study in the October issue of The New England Journal of Medicine found that Accountable Care Organization (ACO) contracts improved patients’ ratings of timely access to care and overall quality of care.

The study examined a group of more than 30,000 Medicare beneficiaries before and after the start of ACO contracts in 2012. Patients reported that their timely access to care improved, as did their primary physicians’ awareness of specialty care. Patients with multiple chronic conditions also reported improved ratings of overall care under ACO contracts as opposed to patients in the fee-for-service control group.

Notably, rankings for timely access to care rose from the 86th to the 98th percentile, while overall ratings rose from the 82nd to 96th percentile.

ACO chart

The study, “Changes in Patients’ Experiences in Medicare Accountable Care Organizations,” is available here.