Tags: affordability

After five years in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Model, which is being phased out by CMS, Partners HealthCare will continue to optimize care for Medicare beneficiaries under a similar initiative called the Next Generation ACO Model.

The model shares similarities with the Medicare Shared Savings Program and Pioneer ACO Model, with each rewarding providers and health care organizations for delivering high-quality, coordinated care—all while keeping costs at or below a national spending benchmark.

Partners, one of the first Medicare ACOs in the country, has five years experience managing patient populations in an ACO, including $31.5 million in cost savings.

In addition, the Next Generation ACO Model also includes new care delivery components and financial risk options for organizations with prior experience managing populations of patients.

With this new model, provider organizations can assume higher levels of financial risk and reward and will be encouraged to implement new care delivery models. For example, CMS will pay physicians to provide care by phone or on-line, instead of just face-to-face visits. These services, called telehealth, offer a convenient alternative to office visits for patients whose care needs can be better met from the comfort of their home. The Partners TeleHealth program, launched in 2011 at Massachusetts General Hospital, will be incorporated and leveraged within the Next Generation ACO Model.

With an overall quality score of 96%, Partners is among the best ACOs in the nation for delivering high-quality care to patients.

“We’re excited to participate in the Next Generation ACO Model,” said Tim Ferris, Senior Vice President of Population Health Management at Partners HealthCare. “The Next Generation ACO Model will allow us to build upon our work as a Pioneer ACO and our existing population health programs to continue to improve the health of our Medicare patients. The Next Generation ACO Model offers new opportunities for primary care physicians and specialists to work together to improve the quality of care we provide to our Medicare patients.”

For additional information on the Next Generation ACO Model, please see our full press release here.