NOIs Due Soon to Apply for 2014 ACO Program

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The Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) for accountable care organizations (ACOs) established under the Affordable Care Act is about to kick-off its second year with a new round of applications for the January 1, 2014 start date. As part of the application process, those seeking to apply into the ACO MSSP must first submit a notice of intent (NOI) to apply into the program on the CMS website by May 31, 2013 at 5:00 pm EST.

The goal of ACOs is to promote accountability of providers to patient populations and coordination of services under Medicare, and encourage investment in infrastructure and design care process for high-quality, efficient service delivery. ACOs include eligible providers and suppliers include group practice arrangements, networks of individual practices, joint ventures between physicians and hospitals, and physician employment models. In the first few rounds of applications, the accepted ACOs grew from 27 and 87 in the first two rounds of applications for the two 2012 start dates to 106 for the 2013 start date. Numbers are expected to grow in 2014.

CMS requests that ACOs seeking to apply complete the NOI as soon as they can because of the potential delay in response by CMS. CMS will send an email with the NOI Receipt Notice and ACO identification number and instructions on CMS User IDs for the application process. The CMS User ID and password are then used to submit an ACO application. In addition, ACOs will need to submit a Form CMS-20037 by June 6, 2013, as instructed on the NOI Receipt Notice from CMS.

In June, CMS will post the applications for the 2014 start date. Applications may be submitted starting July 1, 2013 and are due no later than July 31, 2013. Those who miss the deadlines will not be eligible to participate in the ACO MSSP until 2015.

Key Deadlines for January 1, 2014 Start Date 

Applications posted on CMS Web site

June 2013

NOIs accepted

May 1, 2013 - May 31, 2013

CMS User ID forms accepted

May 3, 2013 - June 10, 2013

Applications accepted

July 1, 2013 - July 31, 2013

Application approval or denial decision

Fall 2013

Reconsideration review deadline 

Fall 2013 

For more information about the ACO MSSP application and operations, see the article "So You Want to Be an ACO: 10 Lessons Learned for Forming and Operating an ACO."