ACO roundup: AHA launches innovation challenge to address social determinants of health

Key accountable care news from the past week.

  • 74 ACOs leave MSSP, analysis finds. At the end of 2018, 74, or 13%, of the ACOs in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) dropped out, leaving 487 ACOs participating in MSSP at the start of 2019, according to research from Leavitt Partners based on recently released Medicare data. In comparison, 59 ACOs left MSSP in 2016 and 2017 combined. A CMS official acknowledged the increased number of departures, saying, "We have observed that the number of terminations occurring during performance year 2018 is slightly higher than what we have observed in prior years." However, the official added that "90% of eligible ACOs elected the six-month extension from January 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019"—a renewal rate that, according to HFMA, appears to differ sharply from a separate Leavitt finding that 26% of the ACOs that reached the end of their three-year contract decided not to renew their agreements for 2019. According to HFMA, CMS did not respond to a request for comment on the discrepancy between the findings.

  • AHA launches 2nd annual innovation challenge to address social determinants of health. The American Hospital Association (AHA) this month began accepting applications for the second annual AHA Innovation Challenge, which asks participants to devise new methods of using technology to address social determinants of health. According to AHA, the top three proposals will win $100,000, $25,000, or $15,000 to help enact their plans. Participants have until May 24 to submit applications, and AHA intends to announce the challenge's winners at its leadership summit which kicks off on July 25.

  • How a new Medicare ambulance payment model seeks to prevent avoidable ED visits. HHS last week announced the launch of a new voluntary payment model for emergency ambulance services—called the Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport (ET3) model—that would allow Medicare to reimburse first responders for care delivered on-site or via telemedicine, even if patients are not taken to a hospital. HHS said the voluntary model, which will have a five-year performance period, is intended to ensure first providers are not unnecessarily taking patients to the ED. CMS plans to release a Request for Applications to participate in the model in mid-2019, aiming to test the model among 30% of Medicare's population beginning as early as 2020. The voluntary model is currently scheduled to run from January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2024.

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  • MACRA 201. Join us for 30 minutes on Thursday, February 28, at 3:00 p.m. ET where we’ll explain the complex MIPS policies and their intersection with the APM track.

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