The NAACOS Fall 2021 Conference was the first live meeting that the Healthmonix team attended since HIMSS 2020 was cancelled in March of that year. It was certainly reinvigorating to meet in person, discuss the state of payment models, and hear from CMS regarding their vision.
For ACOs participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), CMS is implementing rules in 2021 and 2022 for quality reporting which include a sweeping change. This change will require a new reporting approach, in order to aggregate data from electronic health record systems used across an ACO for all patients seen by any provider, regardless of payer or participation in the ACO. In a recent survey, nearly 75% of the ACO respondents indicated concern with the challenge of these requirements. The Web Interface reporting is being sunset, and ACOs need to devote attention to determining their strategy for transitioning quality reporting. Success will require thoughtful planning and experienced system implementation.
Between 2018 and 2019, 74 of Medicare’s 561 accountable care organizations (ACOs)—or 13%—left the program, according to research by Leavitt Partners. The same research also found that 26% of ACOs that reached the end of their three-year agreement opted to not renew it at the end of 2018.
A new CMS toolkit, released through the CMS ACO learning system, shows five innovative care coordination strategies that have helped Medicare ACOs find success through shared savings.
According to a recent announcement from the National Association of ACOs (NAACOs), CMS failed to adequately communicate significant changes to measure ACO-17, Preventive Care and Screening, Tobacco Use- Screening and Cessation Intervention, until after 2018 quality reporting had begun. NAACOs believes that CMS’s failure to communicate these changes will result in unintended consequences such as lowered or even eliminated shared savings rates for ACOs that consequently received a lower performance score or failed to meet quality standards.
In August, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released their proposed rule titled “Pathways to Success,” which outlined significant changes to the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) that encourage ACOs to move more quickly from one-sided to two-sided risk models. The proposed participation options for the MSSP--the largest ACO model with 561 participants--no longer include an “upside-only” risk model; instead, ACOs would be required to select one of two tracks, both of which ultimately include some downside risk.
CMS estimates that between the 2013 and 2015 performance years, accountable care organizations (ACOs) in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) saved $954 million. But according to a new analysis from Dobson DaVanzo & Associates, commissioned by the National Association of ACOs (NAACOS), they actually saved $1.84 billion—almost twice as much.
The analysis also found that MSSP delivered net savings of $541.7 million for 2013-2015 after accounting for shared savings bonuses; this is in contrast to the CMS benchmark calculation, which found that the organizations increased Medicare spending by $344.2 million.
The tracks of the Medicare ACO model vary greatly, but have been steadily gaining in prevalence since their launch in 2011. Despite the steady increase in ACO participation, most groups are staying at the Track 1 level. In fact, in 2018, 460 of the 649 ACOs existed at the Track 1 level.
In a new proposal titled “Pathways to Success,” the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has laid out a modified set of participation options for ACOs (accountable care organizations) in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP). The proposed participation options would no longer include an “upside-only” risk model; instead, ACOs would be required to select one of two tracks, both of which ultimately include some downside risk.