The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced expansion of new Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model as part of the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP). ACOs represent one part of a comprehensive series of initiatives in the Affordable Care Act designed to lower costs and improve care. When an ACO succeeds in both delivering high-quality care and spending health care dollars more wisely, it shares in the savings it achieves for the Medicare program.
The ACO Investment Model (AIM) offers pre-paid shared savings to encourage new ACOs to form in rural and underserved areas and current MSSP ACOs to transition to arrangements with greater financial risk.
CMS had originally announced this opportunity in November 2014 for ACOs starting in the MSSP program in 2015. The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) began the NC Rural ACO Initiative to take advantage of this model and currently five ACOs in the state are applying for the 2016 MSSP and AIM.
By offering pre-payment of shared savings in both upfront and ongoing per beneficiary per month payments, CMS believes participation in areas of low ACO penetration may spur new markets to focus on improving care outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries.
AIM was developed to address concerns and research suggesting some providers lack adequate access to the necessary capital to invest in infrastructure to successfully implement population care management.
Learn more about this new ACO model, if your practice is eligible to participate and how to apply. NOTE: the application period for ACOs started in 2014 and 2015 — or will start in 2016 – opens today, July 1st, 2015 and closes July 31, 2015.