As of July 1, 89 new accountable care organizations (ACOs) began serving 1.2 million people with Medicare in 40 states and Washington, D.C., the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced today.
The 89 new ACOs bring the total number of organizations participating in Medicare shared savings initiatives to 154, including the 32 ACOs participating in the testing of the Pioneer ACO Model by CMS’s Innovation Center announced last December, and six Physician Group Practice Transition Demonstration organizations that started in January 2011.
“The Medicare ACO program opened for business in January and, already, more than 2.4 million beneficiaries are receiving care from providers participating in these important initiatives,” CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in a statement.
The selected ACOs operate in a wide range of areas of the country and almost half are physician-driven organizations serving fewer than 10,000 beneficiaries, demonstrating that smaller organizations are interested in operating as ACOs, according to CMS. Their models for coordinating care and improving quality vary in response to the needs of the beneficiaries in the areas they are serving.
Beginning this year, new ACO applications will be accepted annually, CMS announced. The application period for organizations that wish to participate in the Medicare shared savings program beginning in January 2013 is from Aug. 1 through Sept. 6, 2012.