The ACO Hypothesis: What We’re Learning in Shared Savings
Shifting to an accountable care model is a long-term, multi-year transition that requires major overhauls to care delivery processes, technology systems, operations, and governance, as well as coordinating efforts with new partners and payers. Participants in the Medicare shared savings program are also taking much more responsibility and risk when it comes to the effectiveness and quality of care delivered.
Last month, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported first-year results from the Medicare Shared Saving Accountable Care Organization Program (MSSP). Given these complexities, it is no surprise that the MSSP’s first year results were mixed. The good news? Of the 114 ACOs in the program, 54 of the ACOs saved money and 29 saved enough money to receive bonus payments. The 54 ACOs that saved money produced shared net savings of $126 million, while Medicare will see $128 million in total trust fund savings.
At the time, CMS did not provide additional information about the ACOs with savings versus those without. While a more complete understanding of their characteristics and actions will be necessary to understand what drives ACO success, the recent disclosure of the 29 ACOs that received bonus payments allows us to offer some preliminary interpretations:
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