Since 2012, Partners HealthCare has been one of the participants in the U.S. government’s Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) pilot program. In both 2012 and 2013, previous reporting showed that Partners had decreased the rate of growth of health care costs.
Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) released an evaluation of Pioneer ACO results for the first two years of the program, as The Boston Globe reported. This evaluation used a different methodology than the one we are held accountable to in our Pioneer ACO contract.
Under the new, alternate evaluation, Partners was portrayed as costing the Medicare program $33 million. This is a striking difference from previous reports from CMS that demonstrated over $17 million in savings to the Medicare program across both performance years.
The silver lining is that our performance in year three of the Pioneer program appears to have significantly improved. Not only do we see reduced hospitalizations among patients in our high-risk care management program, but CMS has just notified us that year 3 results beat target by a significant margin and that we generated significant savings for taxpayers.
Going forward, we will redouble our efforts to understand the multiple methods CMS uses to evaluate our performance, and we expect that this new methodology will help us identify new opportunities to improve our performance. We will have some wins and some losses along the way, but we are committed to the path of being leaders in demonstrating that we can both improve care delivery and reduce the growth in medical costs.