On January 28, CMS released a proposed rule to update the methodology used to measure the performance of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) in the Medicare Shared Savings Program. Key proposals include:
- Recognizing that health cost trends vary in communities across the country by using regional, rather than national, spending growth trends when establishing and updating an ACO’s rebased benchmark.
- Adjusting an ACO’s rebased benchmark when it enters a second or subsequent agreement period by a percentage (increased over time) of the difference between Fee-For-Service spending in the ACO’s regional service area and the ACO’s historical spending, which will provide a greater incentive for continued ACO participation and improvement.
- Giving ACOs time to prepare for benchmarks that incorporate regional expenditures by using a phased-in approach to implementation.
Other changes would include:
- Adding a participation option to facilitate an ACO’s transition to performance-based risk arrangements by allowing eligible ACOs to elect a fourth year under their existing first agreement and defer by one year entering a second agreement period under a performance-based risk track.
- Streamlining the methodology for adjusting an ACO’s benchmark when its composition changes.
- Clarifying the timeline and other criteria for reopening determinations of ACO shared savings and shared losses for good cause or fraud or similar fault.
For More Information:
See the full text of this excerpted CMS press release (issued January 28).