(HealthDay News) — Physicians are playing strong leadership and ownership roles in accountable care organizations (ACOs), according to research published in the June issue of Health Affairs.

Carrie H. Colla, PhD, from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in Lebanon, NH, and colleagues conducted the National Survey of Accountable Care Organizations, the first survey of public and private ACOs, from October 2012 to May 2013.

The researchers found that 51% of ACOs were physician-led, while an additional 33% were jointly led by physicians and hospitals. In more than three-quarters of the ACOs (78%), physicians constituted a majority of the governing board. Physicians owned 40% of ACOs.

“The broad reach of physician leadership has important implications for the future evolution of ACOs,” the authors write. “It seems likely that the challenge of fundamentally changing care delivery as the country moves away from fee-for-service payment will not be accomplished without strong, effective leadership from physicians.”

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