Despite high demand, access to quality and affordable mental health care remains a challenge for many Americans. Less than half of those with mental health illness receive care and only about 10 percent of those with substance use disorders receive treatment, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. For people of color, the numbers are even lower.
Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are supposed to improve coordination of health care services, but little is known about their impact on use of mental health and substance use treatment or on racial/ethnic disparities in care.
Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people 65 or older and younger people with disabilities, introduced its own ACO program in 2012 called the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP). Like other ACOs, the MSSP financially incentivizes health-care providers, hospitals, and suppliers to provide quality care while reducing overall costs.