The increase shows that more and more patients are turning to ACOs for care.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that 11 million patients with Medicare will be treated by Shared Savings Program Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) in 2022.
According to a news release, the announcement came as part of the agency’s annual summary of the Medicare Shared Saving Program; Medicare’s national ACO program.
“With one in every five health care dollars paid by Medicare, we can strengthen and transform our health care system,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure says in the release. “(ACOs) present an invaluable opportunity to move Medicare toward person-centered care.”
The release says 66 new ACOs have joined the program and 140 existing ACOs renewed their participation, bringing the total ACOs in the program to 483 this year. The number of patients with Medicare who receive healthcare from a provider in a Shared Saving Program ACO is up 3 percent, or 324,000, from 2021.
“Over the last decade, Medicare has promoted participation in value-based care to reward better care, smarter spending, and improved outcomes,” Meena Seshamani, MD, CMS deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicare, says in the release. “CMS’ commitment to value-based care has never been stronger. As we continue working toward our goal of increasing the number of people in a care relationship with accountability for quality and total cost of care, we celebrate this increase in ACO participation, and know we have more work to do.”
ACOs have been a key innovation in moving CMS’ payment systems away from volume-based payment toward a system which pays for value and outcomes. They are held accountable for spending and quality performance. ACOs also support integrated care for Medicare beneficiaries by ensuring their physicians work as a team, the release says.
Last year, the National Association of ACOs (NAACOS) lamented that at the end of the Trump administration 477 ACOs were participating in the program, a drop from the high of 561 in 2018 and the lowest since the 480 participants in the Trump administration’s first year in office.
The association places the blame on several of the Trump administration’s policies, including 2018 “Pathway to Success” changes which gave limited time before ACOs started taking on financial risk and cut the share of saving they were eligible to keep. Even with these changes, though, the ACOs in the Shared Savings Program still collectively care for 10.7 million Medicare patients.
To achieve that goal, CMMI outlined the following strategic objectives: