CMS Pushes for ACOs Now, Rather Than Later

Final Medicare Shared Savings Program Rule (CMS-1644-F)

3461-3461-cms-logo-250x100_6zMZ22.png.jpgOn June 6, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule to incorporate regional fee-for-service (FFS) expenditures into the methodology for establishing, adjusting, and updating the benchmarks of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) that continue their participation in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (Shared Savings Program) after an initial three-year agreement period. This final rule also adds a participation option to encourage ACOs to transition to performance-based risk arrangements and provides greater administrative finality around the program’s financial calculations. CMS is making these modifications to strengthen incentives under the program after considering comments received on issues specified in the 2016 notice of proposed rulemaking.

“Today’s changes will encourage more physicians to improve patient care by joining Accountable Care Organizations, while also refining how the program measures success, so that current participants are better rewarded for quality,” said CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. “These new flexibilities are based on significant input from participants and will help physicians prepare for the new Quality Payment Program, part of bipartisan legislation Congress passed last year repealing the failed Sustainable Growth Rate.”

The final rule can be downloaded at https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection on the Federal Register website. The major changes to the Shared Savings Program adopted in the June 2016 final rule are summarized in this fact sheet.

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