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CMS: Accountable care organization savings exceed $380M

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Two accountable care organization initiatives have resulted in savings exceeding $380 million, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said today.

The nationwide initiatives are the Medicare Shared Savings Program ACOs and the more hardcore Pioneer ACOs; altogether, more than 360 organizations are participating in them.

Evaluation of the ACO program’s overall impact is ongoing, CMS said, but these results are currently within the range originally projected for the program’s first year. According to CMS, a great majority of the program’s overall net impact was projected to phase in over subsequent years.

“While ACOs are designed to achieve savings over several years, not always on an annual basis, the interim financial results released today for the Medicare Shared Savings Program ACOs show that, in their first 12 months, nearly half (54 out of 114) of the ACOs that started program operations in 2012 already had lower expenditures than projected,” CMS said.

CMS also noted that the new savings findings on the Pioneer ACO program far exceed the results of a previous analysis conducted using a different methodology.

In related news, CMS reported that 232 acute care hospitals, skilled nursing homes, physician group practices, long-term care hospitals and home health agencies have entered into agreements to participate in the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative, another attempt to reform the health care delivery system.

Bundling payment for services that patients receive across a single episode of care, such as heart bypass surgery or a hip replacement, is one way to encourage doctors, hospitals and other health care providers to work together to better coordinate care for patients,” CMS said. “This is the largest and most ambitious test ever of a bundled payment model in Medicare or any other payer in the U.S. Through this initiative, made possible by the Affordable Care Act, CMS will test how bundled payments for clinical episodes can result in more coordinated care for beneficiaries and lower costs for Medicare.”

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