HealthPartners and Essentia Health are the first two accountable care organizations (ACO) to receive the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) highest designation – level 3 ACO Accreditation. The two organizations were among six early adopters when the program launched in 2012. ACOs coordinate doctors, hospitals and other health professionals to make sure people get all the care they need, while eliminating waste and inefficiency. Payments to ACOs reward quality and efficiency rather than the volume of services. NCQA ACO Accreditation is the first evaluation program to assess organizations’ ability to coordinate and deliver the care expected of ACOs.