Pioneer ACOs: Another Step in the Right Direction, on the Health Affairs Blog

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Following is an excerpt:

With the announcement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on December 19 of the Pioneer accountable care organization (ACO) model participants, CMS and its Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) conclude a year of robust activity on the ACO front.  One can understand why Don Berwick has said that working on the Medicare ACO program was his best experience at CMS.  There was significant inter-agency collaboration to implement complex statutory provisions as well as a comprehensive dialogue with a broad set of stakeholders to produce a final set of requirements.

If the goal of this next period of payment and delivery reform is to test multiple models and achieve reasonably broad participation so that the best practices can be identified and brought to scale, the roll out of the Pioneer model, along with the Medicare Shared Savings Program, signals the real start of this testing period for Medicare ACOs.  At the same time, we see the blossoming of much accountable care and value-based purchasing activity in the commercial market.

Douglas A. Hastings currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. He is a Member of the Firm's Health Care and Life Sciences Practice in the Washington, DC, office.