New hospitals and health care providers join successful, cutting-edge federal initiative that cuts costs and puts patients at the center of their care?
Medicare Accountable Care Organization initiatives to improve how the health system cares for patients
Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced 121 new participants in Medicare Accountable Care Organization (ACO) initiatives designed to improve the care patients receive in the health care system and lower costs. With this announcement, ACOs now represent 49 states and the District of Columbia.
“Americans will get better care and we will spend our health care dollars more wisely because these hospitals and providers have made a commitment to change how they do business and work with patients,” HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said. “We are moving Medicare and the entire health care system toward paying providers based on the quality, rather than the quantity of care they give patients. The three new ACO initiatives being launched today mark an important step forward in this effort.”
ACOs were created to change the incentives for how medical care is paid for in the U.S., moving away from a system that rewards the quantity of services to one that rewards the quality of health outcomes.
Many Americans who have gotten ill or injured have experienced a situation where they have been shuttled from hospital to doctor’s office to doctor’s office, often enduring duplicative tests or receiving care that isn’t coordinated.
ACOs are groups of doctors and hospitals that join together to develop and execute a plan for a patient’s care and share information, putting the patient at the center of the health care delivery system. The ACOs are paid not based on how many tests or procedures are performed but by the success of the treatment administered.
ACOs are delivering better care, and they continue to show promising results on cost savings. In 2014, they had a combined total net program savings of $411 million for 333 Medicare Shared Savings Program (Shared Savings Program) ACOs and 20 Pioneer ACOs. Based on 2014 quality and financial performance results for Shared Savings Program ACOs who started the program in 2012, 2013, and 2014, those that reported in both 2013 and 2014 improved on 27 of the 33 quality measures, including patients’ ratings of clinicians’ communication, beneficiaries’ rating of their doctors, screening for tobacco use and cessation, screening for high blood pressure, and Electronic Health Record use. Shared Savings Program ACOs also outperformed group practices reporting quality on 18 out of 22 measures.