KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

ACO News: Cigna, Weill Cornell Docs Join Forces

Yet even as the latest accountable care organization effort is announced, it appears that plans have stalled to create a Medicaid children's version of ACOs.

Modern Healthcare: Cigna, Weill Cornell Docs Announce ACO
Insurer Cigna announced an accountable care effort with the Weill Cornell Physician Organization, New York, that will employ registered nurses to coordinate patient care. The effort includes 71 Weill Cornell primary-care doctors and their patients, according to a news release announcing the effort (Evans, 1/11).

Modern Healthcare: For Pediatric ACOs, Providers Need Not Apply
Among the myriad federal healthcare initiatives stemming from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, at least one highly anticipated program has fallen through the cracks. The 2010 law authorized the creation of pediatric accountable care organizations within Medicaid. Such pilot projects were supposed to start on Jan. 1. The planned program would link Medicaid provider pay to patient outcomes and supposedly track the higher-profile version of adult ACOs in Medicare. After a rocky initial start, the adult version of ACOs has gotten under way, but the Medicaid children's version appears to have stalled (Daly, 1/11).

Meanwhile, consumer advocates are being trained to lobby for the "right kind" of ACOs.

CQ HealthBeat: Families USA Aims To Train Advocates To Lobby For Better ACOs
Families USA is arming consumer advocates with a series of briefing papers to help them lobby for what it considers to be the right kind of accountable care organizations. Although the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has published a final rule governing Medicare ACOs, the group aims to influence their formation in state Medicaid programs and the commercial marketplace. Out this week, for example, are papers on how ACOs are paid and on tying payment to the right kind of quality performance standards. The papers are designed to make sure that the teams of providers who make up ACOs aren't rewarded just for lowering spending (Reichard, 1/11).

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