HHS on Thursday announced the 106 newest ACOs to join its Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), bringing the total number of Medicare ACOs to 259.
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, which launched in April 2012 with 27 organizations and added 89 organizations in July, and join the 32 Pioneer ACOs, which were announced in December 2011.
- The Advisory Board congratulates the newest MSSP cohort. See how we can help—whatever your challenge may be.
Altogether, CMS says as many as 4 million Medicare beneficiaries are now covered by ACOs.
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 systems, staff, and other infrastructure improvements. CMS will recoup the advanced payments through future shared savings. Another 15 Advanced Payment Model ACOs were announced in the second round of ACOs.
HHS on Thursday also announced that applications for the fourth of round of MSSP participants will be due this summer. Those ACOs will join the program in January 2014 (Bunis, CQ HealthBeat, 1/10 [subscription required]; Evans, Modern Healthcare, 1/10 [subscription required]; CMS release, 1/10; CMS fact sheet, 1/10).