CARSON CITY – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today that Nevada is among 40 states where people with Medicare can receive health care from an Accountable Care Organization (ACO).
ACOs are organizations formed by groups of doctors and other health care providers that have agreed to work together to coordinate care for people with Medicare.
The ACO is called the Nevada Primary Care Network and is based in Las Vegas. The ACO has 89 physicians and will serve Medicare beneficiaries in Nevada.
The new ACOs named today around the country will be serving 1.2 million people with Medicare. All ACOs have entered into agreements with CMS, taking responsibility for the quality of care they provide to people with Medicare in return for the opportunity to share in savings realized through high-quality, well-coordinated care.
“Better coordinated care is good for patients and it saves money,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “We applaud every one of these doctors, hospitals, health centers and others for working together to ensure millions of people with Medicare get better, more patient-centered, coordinated care.”
Participation in an ACO is purely voluntary for providers. The Shared Savings Program and other initiatives related to Accountable Care Organizations are made possible by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Federal savings from this initiative could be up to $940 million over four years.
“This new group of ACOs adds to a solid foundation,” said CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “The Medicare ACO program opened for business in January, and already, more than 2.4 million beneficiaries are receiving care from providers participating in these important initiatives.”
The 89 ACOs announced today bring the total number of organizations participating in Medicare shared savings initiatives on July 1 to 154.
The selected ACOs operate in a wide range of areas of the country and almost half are physician-driven organizations serving fewer than 10,000 beneficiaries, demonstrating that smaller organizations are interested in operating as ACOs. Their models for coordinating care and improving quality vary in response to the needs of the beneficiaries in the areas they are serving.
To ensure that savings are achieved through improving care coordination and providing care that is appropriate, safe, and timely, an ACO must meet quality standards. For 2012, CMS has established 33 quality measures relating to care coordination and patient safety, appropriate use of preventive health services, improved care for at-risk populations, and patient and caregiver experience of care.
CMS also announced that beginning this year, new ACO applications would be accepted annually. The application period for organizations that wish to participate in the Shared Savings Program beginning in January 2013 is from Aug. 1 through Sept. 6, 2012.