On Thursday, HHS announced 106 new accountable care organizations that will participate in its Medicare Shared Savings Program -- funded through the Affordable Care Act -- bringing the total number of Medicare ACOs to 259, Modern Healthcare reports.
The new MSSP organizations officially joined the program on Jan. 1. They comprise the third and largest round of additions to the Medicare ACO program. The program was launched in April 2012 with 27 organizations and added 89 organizations in July. Those ACOs joined the 32 Pioneer ACOs that were announced in December 2011 (Evans, Modern Healthcare, 1/10).
Nine of the 106 new ACOs participating in MSSP serve patients in California. They are:
- Accountable Care Clinical Services -- which also serves Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania;
- Affiliated Physicians IPA;
- Akira Health;
- Cedars-Sinai Accountable Care;
- Meritage ACO;
- National ACO;
- San Diego Independent ACO; and
- UCLA Faculty Practice Group (CMS release, 1/10).
About Medicare ACOs
Altogether, CMS says as many as four million Medicare beneficiaries now are covered by ACOs, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 1/10).
According to CMS, about 50% of Medicare ACOs are physician-led organizations that serve fewer than 10,000 Medicare beneficiaries. Moreover, about 20% of the ACOs include rural health centers, community health centers and critical access hospitals that service rural and low-income communities.
In addition, 15 organizations in the latest ACO cohort are Advanced Payment Model ACOs, which are physician-based or rural providers granted capital to invest in electronic health record systems, staff and other infrastructure improvements. CMS will recoup the advanced payments through future shared savings (CMS release, 1/10). Another 15 Advanced Payment Model ACOs were announced in the second round of ACOs.
HHS on Thursday also announced that applications for the fourth round of MSSP participants will be due this summer. Those ACOs will join the program in January 2014 (Bunis, CQ HealthBeat, 1/10).