Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that 106 new Medicare accountable care organizations (ACOs) were created that the agency predicts could give 4 million Medicare beneficiaries access to high-quality health care and save $940 million over the next 4 years under the Medicare Shared Savings Program.
“Accountable Care Organizations save money for Medicare and deliver higher-quality care to people with Medicare,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated in a CMS press release. “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more doctors and hospitals are working together to give people with Medicare the high-quality care they expect and deserve.”
More than 250 ACOs have been created since the Affordable Care Act was passed into law in 2010. In addition, 15 ACOs in this new group will use an advance payment model that would give physician ACOs or providers in rural areas access to capital to hire more staff, purchase electronic health records or other tools to improve coordination of care, according to the release.
“The advanced payment model … allows physician practices to receive upfront financial assistance to help with the cost of starting an ACO,” American Medical Association (AMA) President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD,stated in an AMA press release. “This is especially beneficial for small physician practices, and is an important part of allowing interested physicians in all practice sizes and settings to participate in Medicare ACOs,” he stated.
Lazarus noted in the release that the AMA has established an Innovators Committee advisory group that consists of physicians that help guide other physicians who want to form an ACO.
“The AMA will continue to work with Congress and the administration to eliminate the broken Medicare physician payment formula and move to implement new models, such as ACOs, that can improve value for patients through better care coordination,” he stated.