ACO roundup: How mandatory bundled payments can spark a supply cost conversation

Key accountable care news from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3

The Daily Briefing editorial team rounds up recent accountable care news.

  • CMS wants to change its biggest ACO program. Last week, CMS issued a proposed rule that would alter the benchmarks for determining whether Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) ACOs have saved money. Under MSSP, ACOs that reduce beneficiaries' Medicare expenditures by a set percentage below their benchmarks are eligible to keep a share of the savings. Some providers argue that that the current benchmark formula is flawed; the new proposed rule hopes to address their concerns by comparing ACO spending with trends in regional fee-for-service costs, among other changes.

  • Maryland initiative aims to curb unnecessary care. HealthCare Access Maryland and Family Health Centers of Baltimore (FHCB) announced a partnership last week to improve care coordination for patients with chronic conditions and reduce unnecessary ED use. In a release, the groups said the program will embed care coordinators in FHCB's clinics. The coordinators will work with patients to identify barriers to consistent care and provide references to support services.

  • Two North Carolina hospitals join rural ACO consortium. Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital in Elkin and Northern Hospital Northern in Mount Airy have joined the National Rural Accountable Care Organization consortium. The group, which includes hospitals in Kentucky and Tennessee, aims to pool knowledge and resources to allow rural providers to participate in alternative payment models.

From the Advisory Board:

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