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  • ACOs 'Off to a Strong Start,' According to CMS

    Early news on savings achieved by Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) is out, and it's mostly good: According to a study just released by the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), almost half of the ACOs started in 2012 were already reporting significantly lower-than-projected expenditures in their first year.

    Of the 114 ACOs that began operations in 2012, 54 reported exceeding program benchmarks, and 29 of the 54 "generated shared savings totaling more than $126 million," according to a press release issued by CMS. These ACOs were also cited as helping to create $128 million in net savings for the Medicare Trust Funds.

    Among 23 ACOs that adopted the Pioneer model—a model designed for providers experienced in coordinating care for patients across care settings—9 had "significantly lower spending growth" while exceeding quality reporting requirements. CMS found that the Pioneer ACOs generated combined savings of $147 in their first year.

    Physical therapists (PTs) in private practice, home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, and rehabilitation hospitals are among the providers able to participate in multiple ACOs. APTA members can learn more about the PT's role in an ACO by visiting APTA's webpage, FAQ: Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs): Medicare Shared Savings Program and Pioneer Models.

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