CMS launches new direct contracting payment model

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CMS on Dec. 3 unveiled the Geographic Direct Contracting Model, a voluntary payment model that aims to improve health outcomes and lower healthcare costs for Medicare beneficiaries in several regions across the country. 

Through the model — dubbed "Geo" — participants will take responsibility for the total cost of care for a portion of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries in a specific region. Within each region, direct contracting entities, such as ACOs, with experience in risk-sharing arrangements will partner with healthcare providers and community organizations to better coordinate care. 

"The need to strengthen the Medicare program by moving to a system that aligns financial incentives to pay for keeping people healthy has long been a priority," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a news release. "This model allows participating entities to build integrated relationships with healthcare providers and invest in population health in a region to better coordinate care, improve quality, and lower the cost of care for Medicare beneficiaries in a community."

Organizations interested in participating in the model should submit a letter of interest to CMS by Dec. 21. The agency will use the letters of interest to determine the final regions in which CMS will solicit participants. 

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