Shared Savings Program grows with 89 new ACOs

The Medicare Shared Savings Programs is growing with 89 new accountable care organizations (ACOs) joining the program.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will have a total of 405 ACOs participating in the Shared Savings Program next year, serving more than 7.2 million beneficiaries, according to a post on the agency blog written by Sean Cavanaugh, deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicare. When combined with the Innovation Center’s 19 Pioneer ACOs, there is a total of 424 ACOs serving over 7.8 million beneficiaries.    

"ACOs are one part of this administration’s vision for improving the coordination and integration of care received by Medicare beneficiaries," Cavanaugh wrote.

In 2014, existing Shared Savings Program ACOs added almost 17,000 healthcare providers, and the 89 new ACOs will bring approximately 23,000 additional physicians and other providers into the ACO program starting Jan. 1, according to the post. "The growth of this program for providing healthcare has been continued and consistent since its inception, and we are encouraged by that interest."

Cavanaugh cited early findings released in recent months from the ACOs who started the program in 2012. Shared Savings Program ACOs improved on 30 of the 33 quality measures in the first two years, including patients’ ratings of clinicians’ communication, beneficiaries’ rating of their doctors and screening for high blood pressure. They also outperformed group practices reporting quality on 17 out of 22 measures. We are also seeing promising results on cost savings with combined total program savings of $417 million for the Shared Savings Program and the Pioneer ACO Model.

The announcement is ultimately "about delivering better care, spending dollars more wisely and having healthier people and communities," Cavanaugh wrote. "ACOs drive progress in the way care is provided by improving the coordination and integration of healthcare, and improving the health of patients with a priority placed on prevention and wellness. We look forward to continuing this partnership with doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers in increasing value and care coordination across the health system."