CMS releases 2014 Medicare ACO quality, financial results: 10 things to know

CMS announced Tuesday that 20 Pioneer and 333 Medicare Shared Savings Program accountable care organizations generated net savings of $411 million in 2014 and improved in most quality measures.

"These results show that ACOs as a group are on the path towards transforming how care is provided," CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt said in the release. "Many of these ACOs are demonstrating that they can deliver a higher level of coordinated care that leads to healthier people and smarter spending."

Here are 10 things to know about the recently announced 2014 quality and financial performance results of Medicare ACOs.

1. Ninety-seven ACOs qualified to share in savings by meeting quality and cost benchmarks. Together, they earned shared savings payments of more than $422 million.

2. Fifteen of the 20 participating Pioneer ACOs generated a total of $120 million in savings in 2014, their third performance year. This is up 24 percent from the second performance year when they generated $96 million in savings. Of those that generated savings, 11 earned shared savings payments of $82 million.

3. Five Pioneer ACOs generated losses and three owed CMS shared losses of $9 million.

4. Pioneer ACOs increased their average quality scores to 87.2 percent in performance year three from 85.2 percent in performance year 2. They improved an average of 3.6 percent compared to performance year two on 28 of the 33 quality measures and showed significant improvement in medication reconciliation, clinical depression screening and follow-ups, and EHR incentive payment qualification.

5. The average performance score for patient and caregiver experience increased in five of seven measures compared to the prior year, according to CMS.

6. The pool of beneficiaries attributed to a Pioneer ACO grew 2 percent over 2013 to 622,265.

7. Of 333 MSSP ACOs, 97 saved a total of $806 million earned $347 million in shared savings for 2014, up from $315 million in shared savings in 2013. Eighty-nine other MSSP ACOs reduced costs, but did not meet the minimum threshold to share in savings.

8. The results indicate ACOs improve over time: 37 percent of the MSSP ACOs that launched in 2012 generated shared savings compared to 27 percent that began in 2013 and 19 percent from 2014.

9. MSSP ACOs also improved on quality compared to 2013. ACOs that reported in both performance year two and three showed improvement in 27 out of the 33 quality measures, particularly in clinician-patient communication, patient ratings of physicians, tobacco screening, blood pressure screening and EHR use.

10. The program is still receiving strong interest and CMS plans to announce new and renewing ACOs by the end of the year.


More articles on accountable care:

How are ACOs distributing their savings? 7 study findings|
11 recent accountable care, shared savings agreements
HHS' medical home demo fails to show savings, report says

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