CMS Makes Changes to ACO Investment Model to Help Rural Providers

June 30, 2015
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced two modifications to the design of the accountable care organization (ACO) Investment Model, with the aim to help rural areas and small group practices gain more access to ACO benefits.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced two modifications to the design of the accountable care organization (ACO) Investment Model, with the aim to help rural areas and small group practices gain more access to ACO benefits.

CMS’ ACO Investment Model, launched in October 2014, was developed in response to stakeholder concerns and available research suggesting that some providers lack adequate access to the capital needed to invest in infrastructure necessary to successfully implement population care management. The Investment Model is expected to provide a total of $114 million in upfront investments to up to 75 ACOs across the country. Making payments of shared savings in both upfront and ongoing amounts will help these ACOs invest in care coordination, health information technology, and population health platforms, officials say.

The two recent changes made to the program will newly allow ACOs starting in the Medicare Shared Savings Program in 2015 to apply in the upcoming application round, and it will remove the 10,000 or fewer assigned beneficiary eligibility criteria for rural ACOs that started in the Medicare Shared Savings Program in 2015 (or will start in 2016), CMS officials say.

The application for the second round of the ACO Investment Model was made available for viewing on  June 2nd. On July 1st, 2015, the application will open for ACOs that started in the Shared Savings Program in 2014 and 2015—or are scheduled to start in 2016.

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