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Care quality, coordination is focus of new ACO model

October 15, 2014
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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A new model of accountable care organization (ACO) announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will aim to improve care quality and coordination in rural and underserved areas through the use of health information technology.

The ACO Investment Model will provide up to $114 million in upfront investments to up to 75 ACOs across the country that are participating in the Medicare Shared Savings program.

“The ACO Investment Model will give Medicare [ACOs] more flexibility in setting quality and financial goals while giving them greater accountability for delivering quality care efficiently,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “We are working with these organizations to make necessary investments that encourage doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers to work together to better coordinate care and keep people healthy.”

Through the CMS Innovation Center, the initiative will invest in infrastructure and redesigned care processes to help increase the number of beneficiaries, regardless of geographic location, and ultimately save money for the government. CMS expects to recover the payments through an offset of an ACO’s earned shared savings.

The application deadline for organizations that started in the Shared Savings program in 2012 or 2013 will be Dec. 1. Applications will be available in the summer of 2015 for ACOs that started in the Shared Savings program this year or will start in 2016.