As of July 1, 89 new accountable care organizations (ACOs) began serving 1.2 million people with Medicare in 40 states and Washington, DC. In total, 154 organizations now participate in Medicare shared savings initiatives, serving over 2.4 million Medicare patients across the country.
Federal savings from the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), and other initiatives related to ACOs, could amount to $940 million over 4 years. All ACOs that succeed in reducing the rate of growth in the cost of care while providing high-quality care may share in the savings to Medicare. Five of the new ACOs applied for a version of the program that allows them to earn a higher share of any savings by also being held accountable for a share of any losses if the costs of care for the beneficiaries assigned to them increase.
The selected ACOs, announced yesterday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), 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 that they are serving.
To ensure high quality of care, ACOs will report performance on 33 measures relating to care coordination and patient safety, use of appropriate 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 MSSP beginning in January 2013 is August 1 through September 6.
Check out APTA's ACO webpage for resources such as FAQs, podcasts, assessment tools, and summaries on ACO regulations. APTA's video series on innovative models of care illustrates ways physical therapists can play an important role in ACOs and other integrated care models.