The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) – part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) – recently announced three new initiatives related to the Medicare Shared Savings Program and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).

The three initiatives were authorized by the new healthcare reform law and are designed to assist providers on their paths to becoming ACOs. They also take into account stakeholders’ concerns that the ACO pathway be less costly and less burdensome. The new initiatives are:

  • The Pioneer ACO Model, which will provide for an accelerated pathway for those systems/models who are ahead of the pack in moving forward with coordinated care. Specifically, the Pioneer Model will allow such providers to move more rapidly from the shared savings payment model to a population-based payment model, progressing on a track that is separate from – but consistent with – the Medicare Shared Savings Program;  
  • The Advanced Payment Initiative, which will give certain ACOs access to their shared savings up front, for those who are ready to form an ACO but lack the necessary capital to move forward without such assistance. To do so, eligible providers would receive an advance on the shared savings they are to earn as a monthly payment for each Medicare beneficiary, and would need to submit a plan for using such funds to build coordinated care. Such advance payments would be recouped through the ACOs’ earned shared savings; and  
  • Accelerated Development Learning Sessions, which will teach providers about the steps they can take in order to improve care and develop a coordinated care plan moving forward Four sessions will be offered this year, the first of which is scheduled for June 20-22 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

More information on these three initiatives can be found here.

As discussed in past updates, comments on the proposed ACO rule are due to CMS by June 6 and the final rule is expected later this year. With regard to the Pioneer Model, interested organizations must submit letters of intent on or before June 10. Additionally, comments on the Advanced Payment Initiative are due by June 17.