KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

CMS Approves 106 New ACOs

Among those that gained approval is the South Florida ACO, which has an integrated care model that includes 75 doctors and the Walgreens drug store chain.

The Hill: HHS Approves 106 New 'Accountable Care' Groups Under Health Law
A new program to improve the coordination of health care services got a big boost Thursday as the federal Medicare agency approved 106 new Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). ACOs were created under President Obama's health care law with the goal of improving quality and lowering costs (Baker, 1/10).

Modern Healthcare: CMS Announces Over 100 New ACO Contracts
Medicare nearly doubled the size of one accountable care program as of Jan. 1 with 106 new ACO contracts that offer hospitals and doctors financial incentives to improve quality and slow health spending. The CMS announced its latest and largest round of accountable care organizations under the Medicare shared-savings program, which launched in April last year with 27 ACOs. Another 89 ACOs were named to the program last July. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation separately launched 32 Medicare ACOs known as Pioneers roughly one year ago. CMS said half of ACOs are physician-led and care for less than 10,000 Medicare enrollees. Jonathan Blum, the CMS acting principal deputy administrator and director for the center for Medicare, said it is too soon to release results from Medicare accountable care efforts launched last year (Evans, 1/10).

The Miami Herald: Miami Doctors, Walgreens Join Race For ACOs
With Walgreens joining insurers and hospitals in a race to reshape health care delivery in the country, a group of 75 doctors has become the first federally approved accountable care organization in Miami-Dade, Medicare officials announced Thursday. South Florida ACO and the drugstore chain were on a list of 106 groups receiving approval to offer integrated care that is intended to improve quality and lower health care costs, with the providers sharing in any savings (Dorschner, 1/10).

Georgia Health News: 'Accountable Care' Takes Big Leap In State
A federal agency on Thursday announced 106 new health organizations that will participate in a special Medicare "shared savings" program, and nine of them will serve Georgians. The groups are called "accountable care organizations"’ (ACOs), networks of physicians and other medical providers that seek to improve patient care and contain costs (Miller, 1/10).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Marshfield Clinic, University Of Wisconsin Health Join Medicare
Marshfield Clinic and University of Wisconsin Health have won approval to participate in a Medicare program designed to test new ways of paying hospitals and doctors. ... Accountable care organizations are health systems, physician groups or both that accept responsibility for the cost and quality of care provided to a specific group of patients. The organizations are eligible to share in any savings from providing more efficient care, provided they meet specific quality targets. The goal is to give hospitals, doctors and other health care providers a financial incentive to provide quality care at a lower cost and to move away from the current system in which they are paid based on the volume and type of services they provide, what is known as fee-for-service (Boulton, 1/10).

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