Medicare Officials Report Positive Results For ACO Precursor Program
Some health policy experts, though, considered the findings from the five-year demo programs to be discouraging, noting that six of the 10 sites involved in the effort did not qualify for savings. But some news coverage highlights success stories.
CQ HealthBeat: Medicare Touts Success Of Demonstrations That Paved The Way For ACOs
Health and Human Services officials on Monday reported "positive" results from a five-year demonstration project that has laid the groundwork for Medicare accountable care organizations that the agency wants to create throughout the system. Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services officials said that the Physician Group Practice Demonstration showed there can be success in a pay-for-performance concept when it comes to improving the quality of care, coordinating services and saving money in Medicare. The lessons learned "provide great insight into how to use Medicare's payment systems to improve quality while reducing costs," CMS Administrator Donald M. Berwick said (Norman, 8/8).
Politico Pro: Demo Paints A Blurry Picture For Future ACOs
Though the 10 sites in the Physician Group Practice Demonstration program came close to meeting nearly all quality measures in the fifth year of the program, only four came in enough under spending benchmarks to receive shared savings payments. CMS announced the results Monday, leading with the $29.4 million in "shared savings" the four sites will split based on 2010 performance. But some health experts, interviewed by Politico, found these results discouraging - six sites, after all, did not qualify for any shared savings and the sum of the savings is somewhat underwhelming. As the model for accountable care organizations, the demo's middling results don't bode well for the attempt to generate major savings through the ACOs created by the Affordable Care Act (Feder, 8/9).
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Marshfield Clinic Pairs Savings, Quality In Demo Project
Slowing the rise in health care spending may hinge on finding ways to lower costs while improving the quality of care. Marshfield Clinic has shown that can be done on at least a small scale. The clinic, which has 54 sites in northern, central and western Wisconsin, has saved the Medicare program more than $118 million - while also improving the quality of care - under a five-year demonstration project (Boulton, 8/8).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Feds Reward Park Nicollet For Healthy Patients
After saving the federal government millions of dollars but losing revenue in the process, Park Nicollet Health Services finally got a bit of a payback on Monday. The St. Louis Park-based hospital received a $5.7 million performance bonus for its work in a five-year federal demonstration project that included physician groups at nine other hospitals and clinics around the country. The pilot project, launched in 2005 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, aimed to give hospitals a financial incentive to keep patients healthy and out of the hospital - which runs counter to the way they get paid these days (Crosby, 8/8).