Leading up to the Supreme Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the fate of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and the concept of coordinated care in general was somewhat uncertain depending on which side the decision would come down. But with healthcare reform upheld, ACOs are in full gear—in fact, there’s a slew of newly-formed partnerships.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on Monday that 89 new ACOs had begun serving 1.2 million Medicare beneficiaries across 40 states and Washington, D.C., bringing the total number of organizations participating in the initiative to 154.
These new organizations have entered into agreements with CMS to take responsibility for the quality of care they provide to people with Medicare, in return for the opportunity to share in cost-savings that are achieved through high-quality, well-coordinated care.
“Better coordinated care is good for patients and it saves money,” said Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, in a statement. “We applaud every one of these doctors, hospitals, health centers and others for working together to ensure millions of people with Medicare get better, more patient-centered, coordinated care.”
Federal savings from this voluntary initiative could be up to $940 million over four years, notes the CMS.
“This new group of ACOs adds to a solid foundation,” said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “The Medicare ACO program opened for business in January and, already, more than 2.4 million beneficiaries are receiving care from providers participating in these important initiatives.”
The 89 new ACO partnerships don’t include skilled nursing facilities or senior care-specific communities and are mostly between doctors and hospital groups. While senior care communities may not officially belong to an ACO, they can still position themselves to be post-acute care partners and can function as a solution to prevent hospital readmissions, many senior living executives have noted.
On the same day of the CMS announcement, Pathway Health Services and The Corridor Group, Inc. announced they had entered into a partnership of their own to work together to strengthen the breadth and depth of their services and products to skilled nursing, assisted living, and other long-term care providers as healthcare reform speeds full steam ahead.
The healthcare industry is seeking to align strategies in order to compete in the emerging market that’s now framed by accountable care and enhanced post-acute care delivery initiatives, the partnership notes, and both organizations provide consulting, executive search, interim management, education services and resources to acute and post-acute providers of care along with offering comprehensive, industry-specific training in both classrooms and virtual environments.
“Pathway Health Services shares our vision of delivering innovative services and products to providers throughout the care continuum,” stated Kathleen Dodd, founder and chief executive officer of The Corridor Group.
Senior care providers will be impacted by the ACA’s new hospital readmission standards, the partnership says, creating a greater need to develop strategies for continuum-of-care delivery.
Written by Alyssa Gerace