For those internet searching away for information on Accountable Care Organizations and the Medicare Shared Savings Program, please ensure you are reviewing the final rules which were published on November 2, 2011. The final rules relaxed many of the proposed rules in hopes of encouraging the formation of ACO. One of the largest changes was made to the track 1 payment model. Under the final track 1 model, participating ACOs would share in only the savings and not share in losses, if any. Additionally, those in the track 1 model will be able to participate in sharing every dollar saved once the minimum savings rate is achieved. These two rule alterations effectively encourage ACO use by eliminating the risk and increasing potential bonuses to providers.
In addition to the above mentioned changes, CMS made more provider-friendly changes to the Medicare Shared Savings Program. A concise table of the proposed rules compared to the final rules can be found here.
For additional information, please check out our most recent webinar on ACO.