The significant regulatory changes of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, are sure to increase legal activity in the health care sector. Jay Christiansen, a partner in Faegre Baker Daniels' health law practice, spoke with Twin Cities Business about the recent trend of health care providers moving toward accountable care organizations (ACOs). He touched on the interesting legal work being done to synchronize the regulatory structure with changes in how health care is delivered and paid for.
"The whole theory behind accountable care organizations is, basically, if you can help us save money by coordinating the care of individuals and working together as a team, we're going to share with you, the provider, some of the savings that we as the payer have," Christiansen said. "That all makes sense, but then when you look at the regulatory restrictions, you find lots of things that talk about a prohibition on certain kinds of relationships among referral sources. It's illegal for a hospital and a doctor to come together and say, ‘If you send me all your referrals, I'll do this for you.' The lines get blurred when you're trying to say, ‘The best way for us to make sure that our care is really coordinated effectively is to make sure that we keep all of the care within this group of people who are committed to working together.'"