On July 9, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that, as of July 1, 89 new accountable care organizations (ACOs) began serving 1.2 million people with Medicare in 40 states and Washington, D.C.
These 89 new ACOs have entered into agreements with CMS, taking responsibility for the quality of care they provide to people with Medicare in return for the opportunity to share in savings realized through high-quality, well-coordinated care.
“Better coordinated care is good for patients and it saves money,” Sebelius said in a press release statement. “We applaud every one of these doctors, hospitals, health centers and others for working together to ensure millions of people with Medicare get better, more patient-centered, coordinated care.” HHS officials estimate that over $940 million could be saved in Medicare outlays over the next four years through this voluntary program.
“This new group of ACOs adds to a solid foundation,” said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, R.N. “The Medicare ACO program opened for business in January and, already, more than 2.4 million beneficiaries are receiving care from providers participating in these important initiatives.”
The 89 ACOs announced today bring the total number of organizations participating in Medicare shared savings initiatives to 154, including the 32 ACOs participating in the testing of the Pioneer ACO Model by CMS’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) announced last December, and six Physician Group Practice Transition Demonstration organizations that started in January 2011. In all, as of July 1, more than 2.4 million beneficiaries are receiving care from providers participating in Medicare shared savings initiatives.
The selected ACOs 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, HHS explained in the press release. In addition, the agency noted, CMS has established 33 quality measures for 2012, relating to care coordination and patient safety, appropriate use of preventive health services, improved care for at-risk populations, and patient and caregiver experience of care.