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AMA: CMI's Help for Physicians Interested in Forming ACOs Is Step in the Right Direction; More Work Needed

For immediate release:
May 17, 2011

Statement Attributable to:
J. James Rohack, MD
Immediate Past President, American Medical Association

“The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation’s (CMI) announcement today of new Accountable Care Organization (ACO) initiatives takes a step in the right direction, but more action is needed to ensure all physicians who wish to do so can lead and participate in Medicare ACOs.

“The AMA is pleased that CMI is working to assist physicians at varying stages of readiness who want to participate in Medicare ACOs. The benefits of this new care delivery model cannot be fully realized unless physicians in all practice sizes can be involved. According to the AMA physician practice survey, 78 percent of office-based physicians in the United States work in practices with nine physicians or less. The AMA has encouraged CMS to provide assistance for physicians in small practices, including start up capital and small business loans, to meet the large initial expenses that will come with participation in ACOs.

“In a letter to CMS, and in congressional testimony on replacing the broken Medicare physician payment formula, the AMA has called for the testing of new care delivery models and help for physicians who wish to transition into ACOs.

“The AMA will provide comments to CMI on their initiative to give upfront assistance to physicians interested in ACOs. We will also submit comments to CMS, FTC and DOJ regarding the proposed rule on ACOs to ensure physicians’ concerns are heard during this important process. If they are well designed, ACOs can provide better health care coordination and efficiency while increasing the value of Medicare spending.”



Heather Lasher Todd
AMA Media Relations

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