ACO roundup: Physician-group ACOs report increasing MSSP savings, study finds

  • Study: Physician-group ACOs report growing MSSP savings over 3 years. Physician-group ACOs are not only more likely than ACOs integrated with hospitals to report savings in the Medicare Shared Savings Program, but their savings increased over a three-year time period, according to research in the New England Journal of Medicine. For the study, researchers assessed fee-for-service Medicare claims from 2009 through 2015 to examine how Medicare spending changed for patients enrolled in ACOs before and after MSSP participation. The researchers found that the differential changes in spending per beneficiary in 2015 for physician-group ACOs was -$474 for the ACOs that joined MSSP in 2012, -$342 for those who joined in 2013, and -$156 for those who joined in 2014. In comparison, among hospital-integrated ACOs, the differential spending per beneficiary were -$169 for those who joined in 2012, -$18 for those who joined in 2013, and -$88 for those who joined in 2014. Overall, according to the study, physician-group ACOs saved Medicare a net total of $256.4 million in 2015, while "spending reductions in hospital-integrated ACOswere offset by bonus payments."

  • ACO reaps $4.8M in savings for Fort Worth. Health care spending for the 14,000 employees, dependents, and retirees covered by the city of Fort Worth, Texas, is projected to come in $4.8 million under budget for fiscal year 2018, in part because of a new plan offered by an ACO called Southwestern Health Resources. According to the Dallas Morning News, 59% of eligible individuals signed up for the ACO plan—a partnership between UT Southwestern and Texas Health Resources that focuses on primary care services—and between January and June of this year, ED spending declined by 34%. Members have access to three health clinics without copayments or deductibles, as well as five satellite locations.

  • How Maryland prevented 18,562 inpatient stays—and what it means for providers. A new study in Health Affairs estimated Maryland's state-funded Health Enterprise Zones led to 18,562 fewer inpatient stays and a net savings of $108 million over four years. Advisory Board's Tomi Ogundimu explores a key component in their approach—and recommends how providers can adopt the lesson it shows us.

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