The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has said that there will be 124 new accountable care organizations (ACOs) that will participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) in 2018.
The new participants brings the total number of MSSP ACOs up to 561— 124 new members, 65 that renewed their agreements in 2018 and 372 that are continuing in the program but were not up for renewal.
When the MSSP began in 2012, ACOs collectively represented approximately two million Medicare beneficiaries who were a part of 114 MSSP ACOs. By 2018, there has been a significant jump with millions more beneficiaries who are part of 561 MSSP ACOs.
According to an announcement from the National Association of ACOs President and CEO Clif Gaus, Sc.D., “NAACOS congratulates ACOs in this growth, especially during a period of frequent policy changes designed to improve the program. The 2018 class also shows growth in ACOs participating in two-sided risk models with 101 ACOs in two-sided MSSP tracks, including 55 in the new Track 1+ Model.” Indeed, MSSP participants have different program options depending on how much risk they want to assume.
CMS’ Innovation Center is expected to announce the 2018 class of Next Generation ACOs soon. The results of the 2016 class of Next Gen ACOs revealed that 61 percent of program participants were able to earn shared savings last year.
Gaus added, “We are pleased to see more ACOs moving into two-sided models. This growth is an encouraging sign that more ACOs are preparing to take on risk, but it’s vital to recognize all the time and effort for these ACOs to be ready to assume risk. We need to continue to improve the ACO program as a whole to provide the stability and demonstrated success necessary for ACOs to feel confident to enter into these risk-based ACO models.”