2.4 million people with Medicare to receive better, more coordinated
As of July 1, 89 new Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) began serving
1.2 million people with Medicare in 40 states and Washington, D.C. ACOs
are organizations formed by groups of doctors and other health care
providers that have agreed to work together to coordinate care for
people with Medicare.
These 89 new ACOs have entered into agreements with CMS, taking
responsibility for the quality of care they provide to people with
Medicare in return for the opportunity to share in savings realized
through high-quality, well-coordinated care.
“Better coordinated care is good for patients and it saves money,” said
Secretary Sebelius. “We applaud every one of these doctors, hospitals,
health centers and others for working together to ensure millions of
people with Medicare get better, more patient-centered, coordinated
Participation in an ACO is purely voluntary for providers. The Medicare
Shared Savings Program (MSSP), and other initiatives related to ACOs, is
made possible by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Federal savings from this
initiative could be up to $940 million over four years.
“This new group of ACOs adds to a solid foundation,” said Centers for
Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “The
Medicare ACO program opened for business in January and, already, more
than 2.4 million beneficiaries are receiving care from providers
participating in these important initiatives.”
89 ACOs announced today bring the total number of organizations
participating in Medicare shared savings initiatives to 154, including
the 32 ACOs participating in the testing of the Pioneer ACO Model by
CMS’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center)
announced last December, and six Physician Group Practice Transition
Demonstration organizations that started in January 2011. In all, as of
July 1, more than 2.4 million beneficiaries are receiving care from
providers participating in Medicare shared savings initiatives.
The selected ACOs operate in a wide range of areas of the country and
almost half are physician-driven organizations serving fewer than 10,000
beneficiaries, demonstrating that smaller organizations are interested
in operating as ACOs. Their models for coordinating care and improving
quality vary in response to the needs of the beneficiaries in the areas
they are serving.
To ensure that savings are achieved through improving care coordination
and providing care that is appropriate, safe, and timely, an ACO must
meet quality standards. For 2012, CMS has established 33 quality
measures relating to care coordination and patient safety, appropriate
use of preventive health services, improved care for at-risk
populations, and patient and caregiver experience of care.
Beginning this year, new ACO applications will be accepted annually. The
application period for organizations that wish to participate in the
MSSP beginning in January 2013 is from Aug. 1 through Sept. 6, 2012.