CMS has published a preliminary set of questions and answers regarding the Medicare Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) Shared Savings Program. The ACO Shared Savings Program was established pursuant to Section 3022 of PACA. CMS plans to establish the ACO Shared Savings Program by January 1, 2012. ACO agreements would begin on or after January 1, 2012, and each agreement would be for at least three years. CMS hosted a special open door forum on ACOs on June 24, 2010 to solicit comments from physicians, physician associations, hospitals, consumer groups and other interested stakeholders regarding implementation of the ACO Shared Savings Program. Specifically, CMS sought input regarding topics such as joint accountability among providers, cost and quality measures to assess performance, risk adjustment, benchmarks for defining shared savings, and Medicare beneficiary protections and allocation to ACOs. CMS expects to provide further details regarding the program in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking this fall.