The Next Generation ACO Model – CMS’s Most Crucial Experiment Yet?

By: Fred Segal

After its first two “performance years,” the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), established by the Affordable Care Act, and launched in 2012 by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation, has been met with mixed reviews. The MSSP was implemented in order to start incentivizing coordination and facilitation of care for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries between independent providers through provider participation in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). The MSSP rewards ACOs with “shared savings” if they collectively lower their growth in health care costs while meeting performance standards on quality of care and putting patients first. In results released by CMS for the MSSP’s first “performance year,” only about 25% of ACOs participating in the MSSP received shared savings. Although it may be too early to say, some believe that the MSSP, and CMS’ ACO initiative as a whole, is at a crossroads.

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