Health care organizations were not exactly jumping on the bandwagon when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) initially proposed its Accountable Care Organization (ACO).
CMS circled the wagons and regrouped to release its Final ACO Regulations. The changes may have worked – at least enough to entice health care organizations into applying for participation in an ACO designed to improve health care and reduce costs for Medicare patients.
CMS named 32 “pioneer” health care groups to its ACO with six of the groups from California, five from Massachusetts, one from Arizona and Florida and additional groups from 15 other states. CMS selected the pioneer groups from 80 applicants who will test-drive the new ACO.
Shared Savings Program
Springing from healthcare reform’s Affordable Care Act, the Shared Savings Program offers incentives to physicians and hospitals that deliver high quality health care at lower costs for better outcomes.
Applications for the larger Shared Savings Program are due in January. Although CMS estimates 50 to 270 ACOs will sign up, a recent poll of hospital executives show most are not so sure.
The November poll of over 100 hospital and health system executives revealed 57 percent of the respondents are not sure how the final ACO rules will affect their decision to join.
Responses indicated there is still a lack of a comprehensive understanding about the CMS programs and the financial impact of joining the ACOs.