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CMS: Medicare adds 124 ACOs for 2018

The ACOs will add 1.5 million Medicare patients, bringing the total to 10.5 million.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

So far in 2018, 124 provider groups have chosen to join Medicare's Shared Savings Program, or its Track 1+ model, under three-year contracts. With 65 renewing, there are now 561 shared savings ACOs in Medicare's lowest-risk accountable care model, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The ACOs will add 1.5 million Medicare patients, bringing the total to 10.5 million.

Doctors and hospitals can earn a bonus from Medicare under the shared savings ACO program, given they meet certain spending and quality targets. Unlike other models, though, there are no penalties for exceeding certain spending benchmarks.

[Also: Medicare Shared Savings success takes tech, aligned goals and getting doctors onboard early]

Toward the end of 2017 some accountable care organizations, such as Advocate Health Care, said they saved as much as $60 million in a single year by participating, while Caravan Health in Kansas City, Missouri saved some $26 million, to name just two success stories.

Medicare's Track 1+ model attracted 55 providers; the model allows groups of doctors and hospitals to assume more risk, thereby qualifying for MACRA'S 5 percent bonus as a qualifying alternative payment model.

The Medicare shared savings program encourages ACOs to better coordinate patient care and reduce healthcare costs. CMS is giving ACOs more of a financial incentive to bear downside risk as an advanced alternative payment model. As an advanced APM, ACOs qualify to earn a lump-sum bonus payment equal to 5 percent of their Part B expenditures. This includes ACOs participating in MSSP Tracks 2 and 3, though those that do not meet qualifying APM participant thresholds are also subject to MIPS.

Twitter: @JELagasse
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