KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

CMS To Expand Care With 21 ‘Next Generation ACOs’

The accountable care organizations work to improve quality and lower costs, with measures as simple as making sure patients receive regular follow-up visits and stay on their medications.

The Associated Press: Medicare Expands Coordinated Care For 8.9M Beneficiaries
Medicare is expanding a major experiment that strives to keep seniors healthier by coordinating basic medical care to prevent common problems that often lead to hospitalization, the agency said on Monday. Officials announced 121 new "accountable care organizations," networks of doctors and hospitals that collaborate to better serve patients with chronic medical conditions. ... Monday's announcement means 8.9 million beneficiaries will now be getting their care through ACOs. That's close to 1 in 4 seniors with traditional Medicare, and an increase of about 1 million beneficiaries receiving care under the new approach. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 1/11)

Forbes: White House Launches Medicare's Most Aggressive Accountable Care Effort Yet
The announcement by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services about the number of participants in the “next generation” ACO model is significant because there had been concern some ACOs would lose interest or wouldn’t take on the more aggressive goals of the program. “In addition to being paid for positive patient outcomes (providers) will also receive penalties for negative ones,” the Obama administration said. (Japsen, 1/12)

Modern Healthcare: New Medicare ACOs Include First 'Next Generation' Cohort
This year, 8.9 million seniors and disabled people will be cared for through an ACO, a group of hospitals and doctors tasked with lowering costs and improving the health of each person, HHS said Monday. Medicare pays ACOs based on level of care they provide to patients, and ACOs with high quality scores that also happen to save Medicare money share in the savings. Those with poorer outcomes and higher costs may lose money. The program has netted variable results thus far for Medicare, as well as for private payers. (Herman, 1/11)

MedPage Today: 21 Health Organizations Join Next Gen Of ACOs
In addition to Next Generation ACOs, the other models of ACO include the Pioneer ACO model, the Shared Savings model, and the Comprehensive ESRD Care model for end-stage renal disease patients. Overall -- when both new and current participants are included -- there are 477 ACOs signed up across all models, serving nearly 8.9 million beneficiaries, CMS said. (Frieden, 1/11)

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