Berwick: New ACO Initiatives Not Due to Concerns Over Proposed Rules

CMS Administrator Donald Berwick, MD, said the new accountable care organization initiatives CMS recently announced were not prompted by widespread concerns that proposed ACO rules would be unworkable, according to a report by Kaiser Health News.


The initiatives include the new Pioneer ACO model, offering more advanced organizations higher financial rewards, and the proposed Advance Payment ACO, which would offer organizations start-up funding from anticipated shared savings.


Dr. Berwick added he is "confident" that another proposed ACO rule would not be necessary for the new initiatives, which were developed by the CMS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.


Dr. Berwick said complaints from providers about the rules were "nothing we didn’t anticipate" and showed they were engaged in the ACO discussions. The Pioneer program, he said, is another "exciting new option."


But some observers were skeptical. Dan Mendelson, CEO of the consulting firm Avalere Health, said the Pioneer program appears to be an effort to "expedite the launch of a few ACOs" for political reasons.


The initiatives are being seen as a "two-fer for CMS," an unnamed health industry lobbyist said. "They can address some of the serious provider concerns with the ACO regulations while following through on these alternative CMI models that have been planned for some time."


Read the Kaiser Health News report on ACOs.

Related Articles on ACOs:

CMS Unveils New ACO Model For Advanced Organizations, to Start in Summer

Mayo, Geisinger, Cleveland Clinic May Not Participate in ACOs

5 Concerns With Proposed Rules for ACOs From AMGA


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