Yesterday afternoon the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the long anticipated final Accountable Care Organization (ACO) regulations, after considering the nearly 1200 comments submitted in response to the earlier proposed regulations.  ACOs, created under the Affordable Care Act, are a model of health care that focuses on collaboration between providers across a continuum of care including different health care settings.  The new regulations set forth the specifics for the program including payment mechanisms through which providers will be compensated for care provided through the integrated ACO model, as well as performance requirements for participating providers.  The first ACOs will start operating in 2012.  

Read the full set of regulations here.