CMS Unveils New Accountable Care Program Initiatives
On Tuesday, CMS announced three new initiatives to encourage health care providers to participate in accountable care organizations, including a "Pioneer ACO Model" that could reward early adopters, Modern Healthcare reports (Zigmond, Modern Healthcare, 5/17).
Background on ACO Rule
In March, CMS released its proposed Medicare shared savings rule, which would govern ACOs as called for by the federal health reform law. The program is intended to encourage networks of health care providers to collaborate on care for Medicare beneficiaries, with the aim of improving outcomes and reducing costs.
Pioneer ACO Model
On Tuesday, the agency unveiled a new model that will allow up to 30 organizations to apply for "pioneer ACO" status and become ACOs this fall (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 5/17).
The agency expects the program -- which will be implemented by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation -- to save Medicare up to $430 million in its first three years (Modern Healthcare, 5/17).
According to CMS Administrator Donald Berwick, the Pioneer Program is "consistent with, but separate from" ACO regulations released earlier this year. Although Berwick says the Pioneer Program is not a response to complaints over the new rules, he acknowledges that it "is responsive to some concerns to get started faster" (McCarthy, National Journal, 5/17).
Advance Payment ACO Model
CMS also announced that it was seeking comment on an "Advance Payment ACO Model," which would allow certain organizations participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program to access their savings up front.
The early payment would help health care providers create necessary ACO infrastructure and make staff investments that could help coordinate care (CMS release, 5/17).
Accelerated Development Learning Sessions
In addition, the agency announced that CMMI will launch complimentary "accelerated development learning sessions" to teach organizations how to improve care delivery and coordinate care (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 5/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.