13 million Medicare patients served by ACOs
The number of Accountable Care Organizations serving Medicare patients is increasing in 2023, according to data from CMS. There are now 456 ACOs in the Medicare Shared Savings Program, and another 132 in the ACO Realizing Equity, Access, and Community Health (REACH) model. Combined, they serve 13 million Medicare patients.
“We expect 2023 to be a turning point for ACOs and growth in participation to really accelerate in 2024 thanks to CMS leadership,” said Clif Gaus, president and CEO, National Association of ACOs (NAACOS.) “The interest in high-risk models like ACO REACH should be a signal that CMS needs to include more high-risk options in the Shared Savings Program with many of the features of REACH.”
CMS changed the Shared Savings Program last year to encourage providers to join ACOs, including
giving up-front investment money that’s paid back through shared savings, a slower path to financial risk, more realistic policies around financial spending targets, and others. The REACH Model saw updates that increase provider governance, place greater emphasis on health equity, and giving additional oversight and patient protections.
In 2021, CMS set a goal to have all traditional Medicare beneficiaries in a care relationship with a provider who is accountable for their quality and total cost of care by 2030. NAACOS said it strongly supports that goal, but participation in the Shared Savings Program peaked in 2018 with 561 ACOs and has fallen since new CMS rules that force ACOs into financial risk faster took effect.
Other important numbers from 2023 participation data: