The participants for the latest ACO model were announced recently by the Obama Administration. The data released says that there are about 477 ACOs currently operating across the recognized Medicare models, which include the NextGen (Next Generation) ACOs as well.
Basically, an ACO is a group of entity formed by different hospitals or healthcare providers. United, they remain as a single entity and works hard to reduce unnecessary spending on healthcare. ACOs would ensure that every beneficiary that seek healthcare from it are provided with better healthcare options.
The data from the Obama Administration indicates that more than half of all the healthcare providers and hospitals in the country are part of ACOs. However, very few people actually know about it and because of that, they don’t really get a chance to make use of these benefits.
The Obama administration is trying to make a difference in this. It is trying to extend the benefits of ACOs to maximum number of people. The administration is trying to add nearly 9 million Medicare beneficiaries to the ACO program this year. The beneficiaries will be notified about the nearest ACO where they can get the treatment.
The new beneficiaries are told which ACO they should join on the basic of their past treatment history. If one locates an ACO in his/her locality and has past treatments done there, he/she would be allotted with that hospital or healthcare provider as the ACO.
The administration said that it would provide special financial aids, incentives, and other benefits to the ACOs that ensure maximum care and benefits to the deserving patients. These benefits would be given out to the ACOs that achieve higher scores or produce maximum financial savings.
Despite these programs, the administration pointed out that only a very small percent of the recognized ACOs manage to achieve high score. Many ACOs are in critical conditions and are exposed to downside financial risks. However, the financial risks are common and expected when a healthcare provider remains as a member of an ACO program.
Meanwhile, the CMS stated that out of the 477 ACOs operating in the country, only less than 15% of them were under any sort of downside Financial Risks. It also said that the introduction of multiple iterations of ACO Programs has proved to be effective because it has shown variable results.