CMS announces three initiatives to help ACO setup

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced three Affordable Care Act initiatives designed to help doctors, hospitals and other health care providers become Accountable Care Organizations, according to a press release.

The release states that the first initiative is the Pioneer ACO Model, which provides a faster path for mature ACOs that have already begun coordinating care for patients and are ready to move forward. This model is designed to work in coordination with private payers in order to achieve cost savings and improve quality across the ACO.

The second initiative, the Advance Payment ACO Model, would give certain ACOs participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program access to their shared savings up front, helping them make the infrastructure and staff investments crucial to successfully coordinating and improving care for patients. CMS is seeking input into this model.

The third initiative is the Accelerated Development Learning Sessions, which will help providers interested in becoming ACOs learn what steps they can take to improve care delivery and how to develop an action plan for moving toward providing better coordinated care.

These new initiatives come after The American Medical Group Association, which represents nearly 400 large organizations, as well as other organizations, stated that most of theirm members would not participate because of the reporting requirements and financial disincentives.

(Sources: Kaiser Daily Health Policy Project, http://kaiserhealthnews.org, May 17, 2011; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, http://www.cms.gov, May 17, 2011)