Tag: Jordan Cohen

Summary of CMS Proposed Rule on Accountable Care Organizations

(Second in a series. See Part 1.)

CMS recently released the proposed rule that will regulate PPACA’s Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP). The MSSP relies on the accountable care organization (ACO) model in order to generate and distribute savings. has discussed the general framework for ACOs before. Clocking in at nearly 500 hundred pages, the proposed rule helps to flesh out what was largely a philosophical exercise in cooperative health care delivery. Below are what I believe to be a number of key pieces of the proposed rule.

Proposed Rule Highlights

The 2 ACO Models – (425.7)

There will be two ACO models. The choice between models appears to be largely geared towards minimizing ACO risk while hospitals and providers are first bringing their ACOs online.

  • One-Sided Model: A one-sided ACO shares in the savings, but is not on the hook to share in any of the losses (i.e., costs surpassing the ACO’s benchmark as determined by CMS, see below).
  • Two-Sided Model: A two-sided ACO shares in both the savings as well as the losses.

Basic Time frame and Structure

Not surprisingly, ACO hopefuls must form an agreement with CMS directly. ACOs under the MSSP must last for not less than three years after the application has been approved. (425.18).  The performance period will be 12 months. The ACO must have at least 5,000 beneficiaries, and must include a sufficient number of primary care physicians to treat the ACO beneficiary population.Continue reading…