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Premier Launches New Collaborative to Support ACO Preparation

August 8, 2012
by Mark Hagland
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Program supports the preparation of applications for the Medicare Shared Savings Program

On August 7, the Charlotte-based Premier health alliance launched a new collaborative to help health systems apply for the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), which, as authorized under the Affordable Care Act, established accountable care organizations (ACOs) as vehicles for care coordination and hospital-physician collaboration through new reimbursement arrangements under the Medicare program.

To participate in the voluntary MSSP program, ACOs must first complete an extensive application detailing their specific capabilities. This includes ACO structure, ability to distribute shared savings payments, governance and leadership capabilities, financial viability and plan, provider agreements, data sharing capabilities, quality improvement plans, clinical processes and patient engagement strategies. In addition, every aspect of the ACO’s plan must comply with regulations issued by the Medicare program.

In that context, Premier’s MSSP collaborative is offering participating organizations an MSSP pre-assessment tool; a comprehensive gap analysis based on application requirements; application support, including sample documents related to governance and provider participation; and access to best practices and lessons learned from successful applicants.

In a press release announcing the new collaborative, Robert Gerberry, associate general counsel of Summa Health System, Akron, Oh., said in a statement that “Premier provided resources that helped us with a successful Shared Savings Program application. Through Premier,” Gerberry said,” we had direct access to representatives from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for application questions, opportunities to speak with other healthcare organizations going through the same process, and exceptional consulting expertise as we drafted our application.” Gerberry led the preparation of the MSSP application for the NewHealth Collaborative, an ACO launched by Summa and a group of northeast Ohio physicians.

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