Payment Matters: CMS Tries to Breathe Life Back into ACO Program Through Three New ACO Initiatives


On May 17, 2011, CMS announced three new initiatives under the ACO Shared Savings Program less than two months after it released the ACO Proposed Rule. With the January 1, 2012 deadline for commencement of the ACO program looming in the not-so-distant future, CMS made several adjustments to the ACO program in hopes of spurring interest in the program again. Health care providers should take note of the following initiatives before deciding to move forward with any ACO: (1) Pioneer ACO Model, (2) Advanced Development Payment Initiative and (3) Accelerated Development Learning Sessions.

Pioneer ACO Model

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Center (the Innovation Center) announced a new program for at least 30 “mature ACOs” called the Pioneer ACO Model. CMS is focusing on providers that already coordinate care to enable them to quickly apply and participate in the ACO program. The Pioneer ACO Model is separate from the shared savings program under the ACO Proposed Rule. Providers interested in becoming part of the Pioneer ACO Model will need to submit a completed application and enter into an agreement with CMS.

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