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CMS Announces Three ACO Initiatives


Email Alert

May 27, 2011

By Davis Turner*

On May 17, 2011, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced three Affordable Care Act initiatives related to accountable care organizations (ACOs). First, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) will support a new ACO model that will be available to providers this summer—the Pioneer ACO Model—which is designed for advanced organizations ready to participate in shared savings. Second, the Innovation Center is seeking comment on the idea of an Advance Payment ACO Model that would provide additional up-front funding to providers to support the formation of new ACOs. Third, provider groups interested in learning more about how to coordinate patient healthcare through ACOs can attend free new Accelerated Development Learning Sessions.

The Innovation Center released a request for applications (RFA) for the Pioneer ACO Model, which provides a faster path for mature ACOs that have already begun coordinating care for patients and are ready to move forward. Organizations interested in applying to the Pioneer ACO Model must submit a letter of intent on or before June 10, 2011. Applications must be received on or before July 18, 2011. Access the Pioneer ACO Request for Application, Letter of Intent form, and the Application form. The Innovation Center will hold an Open Door Forum to review the Pioneer ACO Model Request for Application on June 7, 2011.

CMS is seeking input on the idea of an Advance Payment ACO Model, which would give certain ACOs participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program access to their shared savings up front, helping them make the infrastructure and staff investments crucial to successfully coordinating and improving care for patients. Access more information about the Advance Payment ACO Model. The Innovation Center will accept comments on the Advance Payment ACO Model, if submitted prior to June 17, 2011. Comments should be submitted via email.

The Innovation Center will offer new, free Accelerated Development Learning Sessions to teach providers interested in becoming ACOs what steps they can take to improve care delivery and how to develop an action plan for moving toward providing better coordinated care. Four Accelerated Development Learning Sessions will be held in 2011, with the first session scheduled for June 20-22, 2011, in Minneapolis, MN. The plenary session will be available to all interested organizations through a webcast, and all materials from the sessions will be publicly available. Individuals wishing to attend the June Accelerated Development Learning Session in person may register online. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

These initiatives are intended to complement the Medicare Shared Savings Program by providing additional options for ACOs. CMS issued a proposed rule to implement the Medicare Shared Savings Program in March 2011, and is continuing to encourage and accept comments from providers and the public that will help strengthen the final rule. Access more information about the Medicare Shared Savings Program. Access the Medicare Shared Savings Program proposed rule. Comments on the proposed rule, which can be submitted electronically at, must be received by June 6, 2012.

*We would like to thank Davis W. Turner, Esquire (Vanguard Health Systems Inc., Nashville, TN), for providing this email alert.

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