Accountable Care in 2015

Tracking ACO developments, by the numbers

By Caroline Anschutz

ACO-Issue3.2015-iStock_000066496919_LargeACO development in general continues to morph and change. In the first six months of 2015, the Major Accounts Exchange (The MAX) reported on more than 100 ACO agreements, including news related to the formation of new accountable care organizations and additions or changes to existing agreements. At the beginning of the year, CMS announced that 89 new Accountable Care Organizations joined the Medicare Shared Savings Program starting on January 1, 2015. As of April 2015, there were 404 Shared Savings Program ACOs in the U.S., with 7.3 million assigned beneficiaries in 49 states plus Washington, DC and Puerto Rico.

However, 13 of the original 32 Pioneer ACOs have dropped out of the ACO programs completely or moved to models with less risk, leaving 19 ACOs still in the program. In May, CMS announced that the Pioneer Model saved Medicare about $385 million in its first two years. The MAX reported in October 2014 that the nine ACOs that departed the Pioneer program lost an average of $4.14 million, though University of Michigan Health System’s ACO managed to save $660,000.

In March 2015, Health Affairs Blog reported that over the past year “approximately 120 organizations have become ACOs in public and private programs.” The MAX currently tracks over 800 ACOs, including commercial, Medicare, Medicaid, and other ACO agreements. While changes may be forthcoming in the Pioneer ACO model, if success is measured by growth, both Boeing’s initiatives and the evolution of commercial ACOs seems to indicate an optimistic future.

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