Wednesday, June 27, 2012
This Week's News
This Week's News
Number of physician-led accountable care organizations nearly doubles
A new study examining the growth and dispersion of accountable care organizations (ACO) found that the fastest growth is among physician-led ACOs, which nearly doubled in number since October.
The study, released June 13 by health care intelligence group Leavitt Partners, reported that while hospitals lead just over half of the nation's 221 ACOs, physicians are playing an increasingly larger role. Over the last eight months, the number of physician-led ACOs nearly doubled, from 38 at the end of September to 70 at the end of May.
Many of the barriers that would have prevented physicians from participating in and leading ACOs were removed in October when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule on the Medicare shared savings program. The agency revised the initial proposal based on AMA recommendations, making Medicare ACOs a viable option for physicians, who would no longer bear the brunt of the financial risks and prohibitive administrative requirements.
An important part of the final rule was the creation of an advanced payment option to offset start-up costs for physician-led Medicare ACOs. Physicians who are planning to participate in the Medicare ACO program in 2013 should complete CMS's short online notice of intent form to be considered for the advanced payment option.
The AMA offers multiple resources for physicians who are considering participating in an ACO, including a "how-to" manual that covers topics from establishing governance to managing financial risk and a video that describes how physicians can be successful in such new payment models as ACOs.