Lawmakers Introduce ACO Reform | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Lawmakers Introduce ACO Reform

September 29, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

Representatives Diane Black (R-TN) and Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced bipartisan legislation last week that would aim to improve the accountable care organization (ACO) program.

The ACO Improvement Act (H.R. 5558) aims to improve Medicare ACOs with three themes: adding incentives that emphasize health outcomes over services performed, increasing collaboration between patients and doctors, and providing ACOs with additional tools for success. It was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, and in addition to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

For the first theme, Black and Welch advocate for permitting qualifying ACOs to provide telehealth and remote patient monitoring services. They also ask for regulatory relief that will allow qualifying providers to make healthcare decisions solely based on what is best for the patient.

In terms of increasing patient-doctor collaboration, Black and Welch say ACOs should be able to reduce seniors out-of-pocket expenses for primary care visits and exams to encourage participation in their own wellness. For the last theme, providing ACOs with additional tools needed for success, the legislation would ensure that ACOs have fair and transparent benchmarks and improved data sharing between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the ACO.

“It is unfortunate that the current fee for service payment system does little to encourage and incentivize providers and patients to use the most appropriate and effective health care options.  By incentivizing providers to focus on improving health care outcomes instead of increasing the quantity of services provided, this legislation will help improve care coordination, increase efficiency, and mostly importantly, ensure the patient receives the best care possible," Black, a former nurse, said in a statement.

The legislation comes at a time when Medicare Pioneer ACOs are leaving the program. Even as the CMS announced an estimated total model savings of over $96 million over the program’s two-year span, many ACOs have found the requirements of the program to be too rigid and “financially detrimental.”

Read the source article at Welcome to Congressman Diane Black

Topics

News

Community Data Sharing: Eight Recommendations From San Diego

A learning guide focuses on San Diego’s experience in building a community health information exchange and the realities of embarking on a broad community collaboration to achieve better data sharing.

HealthlinkNY’s Galanis to Step Down as CEO

Christina Galanis, who has served as president and CEO of HealthlinkNY for the past 13 years, will leave her position at the end of the year.

Email-Related Cyber Attacks a Top Concern for Providers

U.S. healthcare providers overwhelmingly rank email as the top source of a potential data breach, according to new research from email and data security company Mimecast and conducted by HIMSS Analytics.

Former Health IT Head in San Diego County Charged with Defrauding Provider out of $800K

The ex-health IT director at North County Health Services, a San Diego County-based healthcare service provider, has been charged with spearheading fraudulent operations that cost the organization $800,000.

Allscripts Touts 1 Billion API Shares in 2017

Officials from Chicago-based health IT vendor Allscripts have attested that the company has reached a new milestone— one billion application programming interface (API) data exchange transactions in 2017.

Dignity Health, CHI Merging to Form New Catholic Health System

Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), based in Englewood, Colorado, and San Francisco-based Dignity Health officially announced they are merging and have signed a definitive agreement to combine ministries and create a new, nonprofit Catholic health system.