NAACOS Creates Advocacy Group to Promote New REACH ACO Model

March 2, 2022
The leaders at NAACOS, the National Association of ACOs, announced on Tuesday the creation of the ACO REACH Coalition, intended to promote shared learning and advocacy

One of the nation’s leading organizations involved in supporting the development of accountable care organizations has just announced the creation of an advocacy arm that will lobby for ACO interests at the federal healthcare policy level, with regard to the new REACH (Realizing Equity, Access, and Community Health) model, the new accountable care model created by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMI), and announced on Feb. 24. The REACH model will replace the Global and Professional Direct Contracting (GPDC) model, which will continue through the end of this year (Dec. 31, 2022) then will transition into the ACO REACH Model.

CMMI has stated that at the remainder of this year, CMS will use the GPDC Model with stronger and more real-time monitoring of quality and costs for model participants. GPDC Model participants that don’t meet requirements—like participants that restrict necessary medical care—will face corrective action and possible termination from the model. The GPDC Model has been a hot debate in the healthcare industry recently, and physician groups are already expressing their praise, or in some cases, disappointment.

The Washington, D.C.-based NAACOS made the announcement in the form of a press release that the association posted to its website on Tuesday, March 1. The press release began thus: “The National Association of ACOs (NAACOS) today announced the formation of the ACO REACH Coalition, a new coalition dedicated to promoting shared learning and advocating on behalf of providers in this new Medicare value-based payment model. Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new initiative called the ACO Realizing Equity, Access, and Community Health (REACH) Model, the next premier accountable care model from the CMS Innovation Center that builds on more than a decade of bipartisan Medicare accountable care programs that have demonstrated successful results for patients, providers, and the Medicare Trust Fund,” the press release stated.

And it quoted Clif Gaus, Sc.D., NAACOs president and CEO, as stating that “The ACO REACH Model is a positive step on the important journey to value-based care and will support CMS’s work to have all Medicare beneficiaries in an accountable care relationship by 2030. The REACH Model’s focus on equity, increased provider governance, improvements to risk adjustment, and other changes are critical updates to accountable care that will benefit patients and historically underserved communities. The new ACO REACH Coalition will help drive model participation and ensure REACH will be the next in a growing line of successful accountable care models."

The press release went on to say that “The ACO REACH Coalition will provide in-depth resources and education to providers considering and later participating in the model when it launches in 2023. Specifically, the coalition will produce webinars and resources that analyze key details and aspects of the model, house key resources on a standalone webpage, hold in-person conference sessions and networking events, and provide a dedicated listserv to engage with peers about the model, among other benefits. Additionally, the ACO REACH Coalition will provide advocacy to improve the model to benefit the patients and providers involved in it. Information to sign up is available here.  As part of NAACOS education efforts on the ACO REACH Model and the overall shift to value, the association is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Fowler, Ph.D., J.D., the CMS Deputy Administrator and Director of the Innovation Center, will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming NAACOS conference in April.”

What’s more, the press release stated, “CMS materials note that the ACO REACH Model promotes health equity, specifically requiring all participants to develop and implement a robust health equity plan to identify underserved communities and launch initiatives to measurably reduce health disparities within their patient populations. Addressing equity is one of the important improvements that the new model brings compared to a current similar initiative, the Direct Contracting Model. NAACOS successfully advocated to improve that model, and many of our proposed changes are included in the ACO REACH Model.”

“As the accountable care movement grows and evolves, so too must NAACOS,” Gaus said. “We are fully embracing the ACO REACH Model and look forward to supporting its ACO participants.”

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