CMS unveils Next Generation ACO program

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The new initiative from CMS Innovation Center — the Next Generation Accountable Care Organization Model — is part of HHS' efforts to shift 50 percent of all Medicare provider payments to an alternative payment model by 2018.

The Next Generation ACO Model is an initiative for ACOs that are already experienced in coordinating care. CMS expects approximately 15 to 20 ACOs to participate with representation from a variety of provider organization types. The model consists of three initial performance years and two optional one-year extensions.

Next Generation ACOs will take on more performance risk than ACOs in current models, but they also have potential to share in a greater portion of savings. The goal is to test whether strong financial incentives for ACOs, coupled with tools to support better patient engagement and care management, can improve health outcomes and lower expenditures, according to CMS.

CMS will publicly report the performance of the Next Generation Pioneer ACOs on quality metrics, including patient experience ratings, on its website.

CMS will accept ACOs into the Next Generation ACO Model through two rounds of applications in 2015 and 2016, with participation expected to last up to five years. Organizations interested in applying in 2015 must submit a letter of intent by May 1 and an application by June 1 Second round letters of intent and applications will be available in spring 2016.

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